Dr James Reilly says HIQA shouldn’t ‘always’ rely on whistleblower.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly today said the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) should not always rely on whistleblowers to bring to light allegations of ill treatment of older people in care.

Speaking in connection with recent allegations about Rostrevor House, he said on RTE: ‘What is disturbing is that allegations of abuse are there.’

And he added that ‘patient safety will always be to the fore’ and that HIQA will have to ‘make sure it won’t always rely on a whistleblower’.

Bearing in mind the gardai may yet get involved in this case, we wouldn’t like to comment here about Rostrevor House.

But from the calls we get, there is as much of a need for MORE whistleblowers to come forward as indeed there is still most definitely a case for greater protection for whistleblowers in Ireland – which Age Action called for last week.

Then, spokesman Eamon Timmins said: ‘Staff should be encouraged as part of their training to report sub-standard care, and be protected by statutory authorities when they do so.

‘Staff who care for vulnerable older people have a moral responsibility to speak up for those who may no longer be able to speak up for themselves.

‘Greater support for whistleblowers is essential if we, as a society, are serious about protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.’

We haven’t had any calls to our Whistleblowers Ireland phoneline (0879199113 – open 7am-11pm) about nursing homes as such – yet – but we’ve had two calls in as many days from medical professionals who say they have tried raising concerns within their own hospitals – and feel ignored and that they work in an environment in which they face being ostracised if they try and flag their concerns about working conditions.

One potential whistleblower – who we are working with in connection with one particular hospital – has admitted that they have made mistakes and will CONTINUE to make mistakes unless more is done to address certain concerns being raised internally.

Yes, HIQA or the HSE shouldn’t have to always rely on whistleblowers, but Whistleblowers Ireland is here to remind potential whistleblowers that if you do decide to blow a whistle, we are here for you.

Call Whistleblowers Ireland in the strictest of confidence.

Are you a health professional? Do you have concerns about the conditions in which you work? Have you made mistakes as a result? Do you know other mistakes that have been made as a result of working conditions and has patient care being seriously compromised as a result? If getting in touch with us, please bear in mind we really do need you to be able to substantiate whatever allegations you wish to make and would prefer – but not require – it if you have already at least tried to raise concerns you have within the organisation in which you work, or worked.