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Improve or shut down, Áras Attracta told


Áine Ryan

THE Áras Attracta campus in Swinford faces the ‘revocation of [its] registration unless serious improvements are made by the HSE’ since it still has ‘a myriad of serious issues which need to be rectified’. That was the response of Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh to a ‘damning’ Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report about the facility, published by the watchdog last week.
HIQA told the HSE it will move next February to close Áras Attracta unless repeated failures to upgrade the service it provides are addressed.
While the HSE welcomed the report – an overview of HIQA’s ‘monitoring activity’ since the dramatic RTÉ Prime Time Investigates revelations in December 2014 – it also acknowledged delays in the ‘process of de-congregation’, or the process of moving residents to alternative care settings in the community.
Senator Conway-Walsh said: “Throughout the period of the improvement plan, HIQA said they had seen evidence of a range of actions being initiated and significant additional resources being allocated across the three centres. However, quite worryingly the Chief Inspector found limited progress and improvement overall on the campus.  
“Through their inspections HIQA found that the HSE was consistently failing to appropriately address the institutional model of care, centralised care practices, safeguarding issues and lack of opportunities for residents’ personal development and growth on the campus.”
She added: “It is a damning indictment of the HSE that in three years of implementing an improvement plan, they have failed to rectify a range of serious issues at the Áras Attracta campus and have put extremely vulnerable patients at risk.”

HSE responds
WELCOMING last week’s HIQA report, the HSE noted that ‘while progress has been made at Áras Attracta’ with the staff being ‘caring and respectful in their roles’ and addressing the ‘general health and well-being of residents’, there were still outstanding issues to be addressed.
The body said that ‘the single most significant thing’ it could do to address the concerns raised by HIQA is to ‘accelerate the process of de-congregation’.
“We remain absolutely resolute in our efforts to improve services for residents and to expedite the move to community living and will continue to work with HIQA in that regard,” said Tony Canavan, Chief Executive of the Galway, Mayo Roscommon HSE area.

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