Trust apologise for ‘intentional’ abuse of severely disabled adults

The Western Health Trust has been forced to apologise to eleven families of severely disabled adults who were subjected to verbal and physical abuse while in their care at Ralphs Close on the Gransha complex in Derry.

The Trust have accepted that 22 of 45 allegations made in anonymous correspondence over a six month period between 2012 and 2013, had occurred.

Five of the claims accepted by the Trust relate to the “intentional physical abuse of residents over a two year period”. Four cases relate to “intentional verbal abuse of residents over a two year period”.

Thirty four additional issues were identified during the investigation which the Trust have deemed as “non intentional abuse or omissions in care plans”.

However the Trust has confirmed that the PSNI, in consultation with the Public Prosecution Service, have ruled there will be no criminal prosecutions in relation to the findings.

Among the issues highlighted during the investigation – which also involved RQIA, the independent regulatory body, and the PSNI – were non accidental injury, inappropriate use of restrictive measures, failure to fulfil care plans in relation to continence care or speech and language therapy, inappropriate sanctions and the inappropriate use of language towards residents.

While there are currently 16 residents living at Ralphs Close, the investigation by all parties found the allegations related to eleven of the residents. It is believed the families of the other five families have also been informed of the findings of the investigations.

All the residents of Ralphs Close have severe learning disabilities and complex health needs, many of whom have been in care since childhood.

The eleven staff put on precautionary suspension in relation to the allegations remain suspended pending the beginning of a HR process which is expected to last up to 20 weeks, according to the Trust.

The Trust have said “no stone was left unturned” during the investigation and that they are “absolutely committed to providing the highest quality care”.