Proposed sanctions for nursing home dropped


THE HEALTH Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has withdrawn its proposal to cancel and refuse registration to a Co Galway nursing home.

The independent watchdog has withdrawn the proposed sanction after, it said, the operator of Oranmore Nursing Home, Paddy Keane, addressed “areas of immediate risk” at the 45-bed home.

During an unannounced Hiqa inspection last June – the fourth inspection in seven months – Hiqa inspectors reported that they “again had significant concerns regarding the health and safety of residents” during the first two days of inspection.

Inspectors returned two weeks later, as part of the same inspection, and found “significant improvements” had been made in all areas at the home, which employs 47.

Hiqa stated: “The areas of immediate risk had been addressed. The provider had improved the clinical governance of the centre with the appointment of a clinical nurse manager.”

Hiqa said that after consideration of Mr Keane’s representations on the notice to cancel registration and the more recent inspection findings, the centre was registered.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Keane said that “other nursing home operators might regard Hiqa as threatening and aggressive, but I don’t. Hiqa is there to ensure that people get proper care and I have nothing but the height of praise for them.”

A well-known Galway city solicitor, Mr Keane said: “I did apologise to Hiqa for the historical issues that they identified and I accept responsibility for them.”

However, Mr Keane said he had not been made aware of the authority’s concerns by previous management at the home. He said: “I had no direct role in the day-to-day operation of the home prior to last December.”

Mr Keane said that there had been “a complete turnaround” in the home in the past number of months after confirming that after taking a direct role in the operation of the home, he hired consultants to address shortcomings at the centre and to turn things around.

The businessman also stated that he has spent €270,000 from his own funds in upgrading the centre and training of staff, in part, in response to the authority’s concerns in the past number of months.

Mr Keane confirmed that between acquiring the home in 2006 and upgrade and extension works since, he has invested €5.5 million in the project.