HIQA says Oaklands nursing home shows need for legislation change

The Chief Inspector with the Health Information and Quality Authority says the recent case involving a Kerry nursing home highlights the need for legislative change.

Last week at Listowel District Court, Judge David Waters directed the HSE to act as the registered provider at Oaklands nursing home in Listowel on a temporary caretaker basis.

Eight residents at the home, who contracted COVID-19, have passed away.

Writing in today’s Irish Examiner, HIQA chief inspector Mary Dunnion says the recent court order on Oaklands nursing home highlights the need for legislative change.

She says for many years HIQA has been raising the issue of limited legal and enforcement powers.

Ms Dunnion says while the body can take action to cancel the registration of a provider or attach additional conditions of registration this is often a slow process and the threshold to meet to cancel registration is very high.

Ms Dunnion said HIQA identified issues with Oaklands in May and the registered provider Bolden Nursing Limited committed to taking action.

She said HIQA continued to meet Bolden over the following weeks and months; on November 4th inspectors found a “centre in chaos”.

She says due to current limits on HIQA’s legal powers, it had to wait until the management and care had deteriorated to a significant level before registration was cancelled.

Ms Dunnion said people should not be subjected to significant deteriorating care to the point their very lives are at risk because of legal limitations.

She adds HIQA is working with the Department of Health and is to make a further submission on the matter.