Statement from Minister with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath TD on the HIQA overview report on Áras Attracta
I am deeply disappointed by the reports that have come out today regarding the lack of progress in improving the safety and quality of life for residents in Áras Attracta in Swinford, Co. Mayo. Like everyone in the country, I was shocked and dismayed by the revelations that came out in December 2014 about the appalling treatment of vulnerable residents at this centre.
Since I became Minister with special responsibility for Disabilities, I have taken a close interest in the measures to improve the services at Áras Attracta. My priority is the delivery of the best possible service for service users. I have visited the Áras Attracta campus and have spoken to residents and their families on a number of occasions. I was very impressed by the excellent work Dr. Kevin McCoy and his team did in identifying the serious problems on the campus and making practical recommendations on how to improve the quality of care for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Over the last two years the Department of Health has approved significant additional investment for the service including the recruitment of a large number of additional social care workers and healthcare assistants. Therefore I am very disappointed that the progress everybody wanted to see has failed to take place and that initial earlier improvements have not been maintained.
I have made my views very clear to the HSE. The HSE must now produce a realistic and effective action plan to turn this service around and provide the level of care that the residents and their families are entitled to. HIQA needs to see real and sustained improvements at Áras Attracta by the start of next year if the centre is to meet regulatory standards. I want all of the service users and their families to know that I will be in constant contact with the HSE over the coming weeks to ensure that this happens.