It is with regret that I raise again the issue of the care of patients in the Woburn House nursing home in Cork and the operation of the nursing home under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act. An independent inquiry was carried out into this nursing home and it found there was inadequate patient care, inadequate insurance, an absence of registered nurses and overcrowding.
Subsequent to the inquiry, a nurse manager was appointed and the inadequacies outlined in the report of the inquiry were said to have been put right. The health board management indicated its satisfaction with the arrangement. We were informed that if there was another breach of the regulations severe action would be taken.
On 7 June the nurse manager was dismissed and wrote a letter alleging serious breaches of the Health (Nursing Homes) Act. Had the nurse manager not been sacked I am not certain whether he would have written the letter. The allegations dealt with the adequacy of patient care, the prescribing of drugs by an unregistered nurse and medical treatment Protocols being carried out by an unqualified person — all of which issues arose in the findings of the independent inquiry. There were also allegations of the re-use of nappies, another issue in the findings of the previous inquiry. The possibility of overcrowding was also mentioned. By and large, the allegations are a restatement of the previous ones made about this home.
The Southern Health Board proposed, with the agreement of the owner, the appointment of a member of staff of the health board while an internal inquiry proceeded. However, the issue has gone further. I am anxious that natural justice would be seen to be done and I am conscious I have received only one side of the story. The letter written by the individual concerned was sent to the chief executive officer of the health board duly signed. Therefore, I felt it appropriate to bring this to this Minister's attention.
I ask the Minister, in association with the chief executive of the health board, to appoint the members of the previous inquiry team who are familiar with the nursing home to investigate these serious allegations. They did a superb job on the previous occasion. Therefore, in conjunction with the chief executive officer of the health board, will the Minister consider reappointing that ready-made team?