DUP Health Spokesperson and Vice Chair of the Health Committee, Pam Cameron MLA, has welcomed the announcement from the Health Minister that he intends to introduce an Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland.
Speaking following this morning's announcement, Mrs Cameron said:
"In light of the initial report from the independent review commissioned to examine the care failings at Dunmurry Manor Care Home, this move is welcome and necessary. The most vulnerable in our society, including care home residents, deserve to be protected and their loved ones assured that the care they receive is safe and subject to strong and well-functioning oversight.
Even at this early stage in their review CPEA have found that adult safeguarding practice did not actively contribute to keeping residents safe at Dunmurry Manor. This is completely unacceptable. I am therefore supportive of the Health Minister's early intention to develop and consult on an Adult Safeguarding/Protection Bill which rights these wrongs and makes lasting improvements moving forward. It is important that any legislation has in-built space to take on board learning and recommendations from separate active investigations and inquiries when they conclude, including into alleged abuse at Muckamore Abbey.
We always have to be mindful that the overwhelming majority of those working in public and private health and social care provide a high-quality and compassionate service vulnerable residents and patients. However, it is absolutely imperative that we put in place additional safeguards to ward against any repeat of a minority cases which have fallen far short of the care we expect.
I would urge the Minister to consult in a meaningful way with the families of vulnerable adults from various care settings as he seeks to chart the way forward. No longer should they feel their voices are being ignored. Improving engagement and communication between care providers and families of those in residential care will be essential to public confidence in any new structures.’’