‘Serious concern’ over breaches at Co. Derry day care provider

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Further breaches in relation to pre-employment checks for volunteers working at a County Derry day care provider have been described as “a matter of serious concern.”

In April 2016, during an unannounced inspection, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) identified concerns in relation to pre-employment checks and staff training at Foreglen Community Association day care setting.

The ongoing safety and wellbeing of all those availing of day care at Foreglen Community Association continues to be of paramount importance to RQIA.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority

RQIA said they issued two notices of failure to comply with regulations, which set out the actions required to be taken by Foreglen Community Association, by early June, to achieve compliance with regulations. During an RQIA inspection of Foreglen Community Association on 7 June, “to assess compliance”, they said “while RQIA noted some progress in respect of staff training, further work was required and RQIA extended the compliance date to late July”.

“However, RQIA also identified further breaches in relation to pre-employment checks for volunteers at the service, and has now commenced action to place conditions of registration on the service,” said a spokesperson for RQIA.

The RQIA report, issued on June 15, stated a review of the Association’s Daily Attendance Record “contained the names of three volunteers who had not been Access NI checked by the day care setting despite a failure to comply notice issued on April 25, 2016”.

The RQIA said this was “a continued breach” and “is a matter of serious concern due to the risk for vulnerable adults in the day care setting”.

The RQIA spokesperson added: “The ongoing safety and wellbeing of all those availing of day care at Foreglen Community Association continues to be of paramount importance to RQIA, which we will monitor through our ongoing regulatory activities.”

The RQIA said they would continue to monitor the situation.

In a statement to the ‘Journal’, a spokesperson on behalf of The Foreglen Community Association said: “Following the inspection from RQIA and subsequent enforcement and proposal notices issued there after The Foreglen Community Association are currently working with RQIA and The Western Health and Social Care Trust to rectify the issues and to continue to provide a high quality service to our service users.

“The Foreglen Community Association will have all these issues rectified by the date specified by RQIA.”

The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) has said it has met with Foreglen Community Association “and is satisfied with the current measures being taken to meet the failure to comply notice”.

The Western Trust spokesperson added: “The Trust will monitor this closely to ensure Foreglen fully complies with policies and procedures.”

Patients First N.I. chairperson, Aidan Hanna, said the most recent inspection findings “should be seen as the last straw for the Trust”.

“Patients First would again call on the Western Trust to take immediate action to protect the vulnerable adults at Foreglen.

“The NHS should not be contracting their services to a private sector organisation where there are repeated failures by a service provider to comply with very basic pre-employment checks.”

Mr Hanna said: “It is important to recognise the important role of the RQIA in regulation of services when they discover shocking failures like those at Foreglen.”