COVID-19 AND CARE HOME DEATHS: RESPONSE TO CLIFTON CARE HOME REPORT
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) act for 15 families affected by deaths in Clifton Care Home during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.
KRW has engaged with a number of families who are invested in the out-workings of the long overdue Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Serious Adverse Incident Report (dated 28 February 2022) into Clifton Nursing Homes Management of the Covid-19 outbreak between April and May 2020. The Report has just been released to our clients.
The Reports findings confirm their worst suspicions on oversight and management failings at a critical time in the pandemic.
Clifton Care Home has become a byword for neglect of elderly and vulnerable people.
Shirell Hull who lost her mother Iris articulates to devastating effect just how much Next-of-Kin have now been retraumatised on reading the content of the Report:
“It has been a long night for me after reading this Report. I had an idea of what it might read but seeing is believing and my heart broke all over again knowing that our precious Mum was a victim in all this. As we suspected, everything we had concerns about the Clifton Care Home were proven to be true and the full nightmare has now become a terrible reality.
Cross infection, dirty clothes, unkept residents, clothes being worn by others, safety hazards, clutter, residents being locked in their rooms, substandard food, broken furniture, beds with no sheets … the list goes on …
The Report makes it clear to us that there must now be a Northern Ireland specific statutory public inquiry in all care homes deaths that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Kevin Winters, Senior Partner and Solicitor, KRW said:
“We welcome the decision to release of the SAI Report now rather than at the later stage originally proposed.
We complained on behalf of families about that delay and thankfully the Department of Health and Social Care reviewed that decision and did a U-turn and did the correct thing by making these findings available now.
Families have been left in the dark for too long now on what exactly happened here. The contents make for very uncomfortable reading on so many different fronts
First, bereaved families can now revisit applications to the Coroner to direct inquests into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones
Second, in our view the findings will support an ongoing call for a bespoke approach to a statutory public inquiry on Covid-19 related deaths in care homes deaths in this jurisdiction.
We had written to Robin Swann, Minister for Health and Social Care in December 2021 setting out why there needed to be a Northern Ireland specific centric approach and we received a holding response in January this year.
In light of today’s findings, we now call on the Minister to revisit all issues of concern identified previously and make a reasoned assessment on the need for Core Participant Status at the pending UK wide inquiry or in the alternative a completely separate approach for a Northern Ireland specific investigation.
Third, families who lost loved one should now be able to litigate for compensation for the loss and damage sustained at the care home in Northern Ireland.”