After it was revealed last week that HIQA had issued the HSE with an Notice of Proposal to Cancel Registration for Centre 2 at Aras Attracta Swinford, the Mayo Advertiser contacted the HSE looking for a comment on the issue. The HSE did issue a statement, but it was received after the print edition of the paper had gone to the printers.
In its statement the HSE said: "While we are disappointed considering the significant work and programme of change which is under way at the centre and the favourable reports from HIQA following inspection in April this year, we are strongly committed to addressing the issues raised, particularly in relation to staffing and governance. The HSE wishes to reassure families and residents that we will continue to provide services for the residents in our care. We will provide appropriate governance and oversight ensuring residents' needs are being met in a safe and caring environment."
In relation to the staffing levels at the facility, it said: "Additional staff have been recruited, and in the past fortnight, a further 25 posts have been approved to allow us to commission two vacant bungalows – this will reduce the numbers in some of the existing three centres. The Aras Attracta campus has and continues to undergo significant change. This is informed by best practice and external validation. We have mobilised specialist clinical insight and training from Studio 3 who have expertise in this area. We have commissioned and continue to have active feedback and input from an expert review led by Dr Kevin McCoy. This advice has already informed real practical change."
The decision by HIQA also mentioned governance issues at the facility, responding to this the HSE said, "A new director of services, specifically for the campus has taken up duty and successful candidates have been identified for three key senior clinical positions. This will strengthen governance and oversight at Centres 1, 2 and 3 and in addition will drive the services further into the modern day approach to such care and support.
"It is important to stress that while we are advancing this programme the type of change required cannot happen overnight and we expect challenges along the way both based on our own assessment and also that of the regulator HIQA in their periodic reports. These assessments are important in recognising where we are progressing, where we still have more to do and where we come up against obstacles.
"The residential disability sector has only been regulated since late 2013. Coming from the history that it does we expect to experience challenges and a work programme that will require a sustained effort for many years. This has been our experience of other regulated social care settings including those for children and older people.
"Aras Attracta consists of three separate services and the registration process with regard to Centre 1 and Centre 3 within the complex continues as normal. In keeping with National Policy (A Time to move on from Congregated Settings and National Housing Strategy for People with Disability 2011 – 2016 ), residents of Aras Attracta will be supported to move to community based living in the future. As part of that planning process Aras Attracta has been closed to new admissions since January 2011."