Press Release

Statement by the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D on Report of the Non-Statutory Inquiry into the Transfer of Mr Peter McKenna to Leas Cross Nursing Home

The Minister for Health & Children, Ms Mary Harney T.D., today (Friday, 15 October 2010) welcomed the publication of the Report of the non-statutory inquiry by Mr. Conor Dignam BL into the transfer of the late Mr Peter McKenna from St Michael’s House to Leas Cross Nursing Home. The Minister would like to thank Mr Dignam for his comprehensive report.

While the Report finds that ultimately the decision to transfer Mr McKenna to Leas Cross was the correct one in the circumstances, it also highlights the deficiencies in the way in which a vulnerable man in care was treated. In particular it identifies that there was no forward planning for Mr McKenna’s move from St Michael’s House to Leas Cross and that the normal decision making procedures were not followed. It also demonstrates that there was a lack of proper support for, or communication with, Mr McKenna or his family. The report also finds that there was no adequate assessment as to whether Leas Cross Nursing Home was suitable for Mr McKenna’s specific needs.

The Report makes a total of eight recommendations. The Minister has noted that all of the recommendations have now been implemented by St Michael’s House through the improvement and strengthening of a series of standard policies. She has further noted that the HSE has assured itself that these polices have been implemented.

The Minister stated; “At this moment my sympathies and thoughts lie with Mr McKenna’s family. Reading the Report will be a distressing experience for them. Their love and concern for Peter is evident throughout the Report, and I know his loss is still keenly felt. I hope that today’s publication will bring them some comfort. I also hope that it will help them to come to terms in some way with the circumstances leading to this tragic event.”

The Minister added; “I am particularly concerned about the distressing lapse in normal procedures and the way in which St Michael’s House failed to communicate with Mr McKenna and his family. One of the key elements in all of our health service reforms has been the emphasis on keeping the patient, resident or client and their families at the very centre of all decisions and decision making. All our efforts in health reform are centred on the people who need health services, and what occurred in this case is a prime example of what happens when people who make decisions fail to communicate properly with those affected by them.”