The HSE found that the care provided by the nurse to the woman fell into the “category of neglect” and a complaint against the health professional in question has since been lodged with An Bord Altranais, the regulatory body for the nursing profession. Allegations of physical and verbal abuse by the nurse were not upheld by the HSE.
The case is one of several complaints upheld by the HSE against its staff in the south east during the past three years, recently released to Louth Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd under the Freedom of Information Act.
Another case investigated by the health authority, alleged to have taken place at Waterford Regional in 2007, concerned complaints made about a doctor at the hospital.
A patient had expressed concerns regarding the treatment received by the doctor and the HSE found that the doctor ‘had a case to answer’. Both legal and disciplinary procedures were initiated following the HSE ruling.
Also upheld was an allegation that a staff member in the Wexford community services left a child unattended in a car. This staff member was redeployed as a home help. An inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to a client in receipt of home help services from the HSE in Waterford is ongoing. Deputy O’Dowd has hit out at the lack of transparency in the information provided to him and questioned the independence of the investigations, highlighting one case from 2008 in which a staff member from St Luke’s hospital in Kilkenny is now being “processed under stage 4 of the disciplinary procedure”. Though Stage 4 often involves the dismissal of employees, the HSE documents say that the nature of the abuse is “confidential . . . at this stage” and Deputy O’Dowd says this is not acceptable.
“A number of very serious allegations have been proven against health service employees, but we’re told very little about the nature of the abuse, the exact location, or precisely what action was taken. It is vital that there is much more transparency around this entire procedure.”