Coronavirus: Clifton Nursing Home review to be carried out after nine deaths
Jun. 03, 2020
Belfast Health Trust will initiate a Serious Adverse Incident Review (SAI) into Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast.
Health Minister Robin Swann said the review will "focus on the deterioration in care" at the home.
It will also examine "the interface between the home and the relevant statutory agencies, decisions made and the timeline for those decisions".
The home was taken over by Healthcare Ireland after it failed inspections .
The failed inspections by the regulatory body the RQIA were around governance, management and leadership - serious issues which were affecting the robustness of infection prevention.
There were at least nine Covid-19 related deaths at the home , which has approximately 100 beds and 70 residents.
Residents were facing the upheaval of having to move home, but after last week's deal they may stay at Clifton if they wish.
Clifton Care Home is owned by Runwood Homes, which declined to comment on the review.
An SAI takes place when an event has led to serious unintended or unexpected harm, loss or damage to patients.
It includes cases which involve a large number of patients, where a patient has died under unusual circumstances and where there is a question of poor clinical or management judgement.
Belfast Health Trust told the BBC: "We wish to assure the public that we are supporting Clifton Nursing Home to ensure residents' needs are being appropriately met and will thoroughly examine the timeline of events to ensure the safety of our residents."
Mr Swann said he expected the independent review process "to be a thorough piece of work, completed in a timely manner".
Belfast care home residents moved amid Covid-19 concerns
The results of SAI reviews are not usually published, although a Department of Health spokesperson told BBC News NI that the health minister "expects the fullest possible transparency in relation to the findings of this review".
A review of the SAI process is also under way as part of the department's programme of work into the inquiry into hyponatremia-related deaths.
Regular inspections by the RQIA in care homes were suspended in the first weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic.
RQIA inspections at Clifton were carried out in March and May at the request of the Belfast Health Trust, and after an anonymous call to the RQIA.
The Belfast Trust has explained that it does not have a role in making decisions on when inspections are undertaken and must escalate any concerns it may have to the RQIA.
RQIA chief executive, Dermot Parsons, told the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster they did not leave elderly residents in the home for two months between March and May, without taking action.
"We have not left people anywhere for two months," Mr Parsons said. "During that time there was guidance given from the chief medical officer about us continuing inspections in circumstances of highest risk."
He added: "With the department, the decision was made, that we should purpose ourselves as a support resource to the services across Northern Ireland, to ensure that in every home staff were as prepared as possible, as they could be, to deal with the onslaught from Covid-19."
"The responsibility there sits with the provider."
A spokesperson for the RQIA said they are "aware of the Belfast Trust led SAI review in relation to Clifton Nursing Home and we will engage with the trust as required."
Meanwhile, Mr Swann told MLAs his officials are seeking to review the remit of the RQIA.
He told Stormont's health committee they were exploring ways of dealing with home care providers rather than individual homes.