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Patients to be put at centre of Muckamore Abbey Hospital Inquiry – chairman

Patients will be at the centre of proceedings in an inquiry into allegations of abuse at Muckamore Abbey Hospital, the inquiry chairman has said.

Tom Kark, chairman of the Muckamore Abbey Hospital Inquiry, stated it’s clear already that “bad practices were allowed to persist at the hospital to the terrible detriment of a number of patients”.

The inquiry is analyzing allegations of abuse of sufferers at the ability in Co Antrim.

Muckamore Abbey, a hospital for adults with extreme studying disabilities and psychological well being wants, has been at the centre of the UK’s largest ever police investigation into the alleged abuse of weak adults.

The Muckamore Abbey Hospital well being facility in Abbey Road, Muckamore, Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

(PA Archive)

A quantity of persons are to be prosecuted within the probe.

Mr Kark, who beforehand performed a key function within the 2010 inquiry into avoidable deaths at Stafford Hospital, stated the inquiry has agreed a memorandum of understanding with police and the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland to proceed with out impacting the legal investigation.

He described the inquiry as being of nice significance to a big quantity of individuals.

He additionally stated it is necessary to the broader psychological well being and studying incapacity providers, which he stated, want to be taught from its errors.

He stated: “The treatment and care of those with learning disabilities or with mental illness, who are by their nature vulnerable, should be of a high quality and safe in any civilised society,” he instructed the inquiry.

Dawn Jones exterior the Corn Exchange, Cathedral Quarter in Belfast, holding a picture of her son Timothy, who was a affected person at Muckamore Abbey Hospital (Liam McBurney/PA)

(PA Wire)

“And to abuse those people receiving such care is an anathema to any competent and caring health professional. It brings the medical, nursing and care professions into disrepute and it makes people fearful of committing their loved ones to the care of others who should be able to care for them safely and with compassion.”

He stated what occurred at Muckamore Abbey Hospital “has been referred to as a scandal”, including: “Without predetermining any issue, it is quite obvious that bad practices were allowed to persist at the hospital to the terrible detriment of a number of patients”.

“Those patients themselves were all without exception highly vulnerable in different ways and so it is understandable that there is considerable public anger at some of what has already been revealed,” he stated.

“Relatives and carers who entrusted their family members to the hospital to be cared for with compassion have found that in lots of instances, that’s not what was taking place, and since so many of the sufferers have been both non verbal or had problem speaking, they couldn’t categorical what was taking place or they weren’t thought to be credible.

I regard the sufferers and their family members and carers, who’ve been abused or acquired poor care, as being at the entrance and centre of this inquiry

Tom Kark

“Many of the parents, relatives and carers who trusted the hospital have been let down, and they are understandably furious, and some feel guilty. I have met through the engagement sessions a number of families and individuals who have expressed their great upset and anger at what they have now discovered was happening when they left their loved relatives at Muckamore.”

Mr Kark stated the inquiry will scrutinise what was taking place at the hospital over many a long time.

“I regard the patients and their relatives and carers, who have been abused or received poor care, as being at the front and centre of this inquiry,” he stated.

He stated they are going to begin with proof from family members of sufferers, including: “Not only do we want to put the patients at Muckamore front and centre of this inquiry, we want to put their experience first”.

The inquiry will later hear a gap assertion from senior counsel to the inquiry, Sean Doran QC.

Opening statements from core contributors are anticipated to be heard on Wednesday and Thursday.

The inquiry is ready to make suggestions to authorities when it concludes.

Mr Kark stated he expects the inquiry “will inevitably take some time”, however stated if it comes throughout points that require pressing and instant rectification, a brief interim report can be written with suggestions.

Dr Elaine Maxwell and Professor Glynis Murphy are additionally on the panel together with Mr Kark.

Relatives of sufferers have been amongst those that attended the inquiry on Monday.

Glynn Brown, whose son Aaron had been a affected person at the hospital, was amongst those that attended.

Mr Brown, who beforehand raised the alarm concerning the facility, stated he’ll be watching to see if the “depth and scale” of what occurred will be uncovered, and what’s going to be accomplished about it.

Family and supporters of sufferers of Muckamore Abbey Hospital exterior the Corn Exchange, Cathedral Quarter in Belfast, as the primary day of public hearings within the Muckamore Abbey Hospital Inquiry is underneath means (Liam McBurney/PA)

(PA Wire)

Speaking forward of the primary day of public hearings, Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann stated he trusts the inquiry will present the solutions wanted.

“As I stated in September 2020 when I announced my intention to establish an inquiry, patients and families need more than apologies,” he stated.

“They deserve the truth on what has happened and how it was allowed to happen. I trust that this public inquiry will provide the answers that are required.”

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