Laois nursing home boss says HSE recruitment has caused a 'crisis' in privately-run homes

Stradbally nursing home chief executive claims HSE recruitment responsible for critical HIQA report

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


Laois nursing homes boss blames HSE recruitment for critical HIQA report

Droimnín Nursing Home Stradbally

A HSE recruitment campaign and higher pay are the key reasons why a Stradbally nursing home was forced to halt admissions on the back of an adverse report on patient care, its chief executive has claimed.

Mr Gearóid Brennan made the claim after the publication of two reports on Drominín Nursing Home in Stradbally.

The home, which cares for 82 people, was inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority three times since last August.

Following an inspection in December, Hiqa found that 28 members of staff (20 full time) had resigned since August. It said this meant staffing levels were inadequate to meet the care and welfare needs of residents. As a result the home agreed to a temporary hold on all new admissions into the centre until such time that the managment are reassured that the staffing compliment is stablised and that the care delivered is safe, appropriate to resident's needs, consistent and effectively monitored.

The shortcomings extended to management of patients clinical care. It was found that gaps or absence of assesments had a direct negative impact on patients.

By December, Hiqa found the managmement team had undergone significant change with two changes to the person in charge. It found that a recruitment plan was in place.

In the Decmeber report Hiqa ackowledged that steps were being taken by management in a number of areas to address the shortcomings.

However, the watchdog found that out of eight categories, the home was not compliant in four. Major non-compliances with standards were found in governance and managment, health and socal care needs, and suitable staffing.

Hiqa followed up with another inspection in January. It effectively gave the home a clean bill of health. No non-compliances were found in any category.

“Findings on this inspection evidenced that the strategy had yieled a positive impact on the overall service provided.

“The inspector followed up on the ten action pland from the previous inspection and found that nine had been completed,” said the Hiqa report.

The home is now open again to new admissions.

“The inspector found that care was delivered to a high standard by staff who knew the residents well and dispatched their duties in a respectful and dignified way.

“The managment team and staff were striving to continously improve outcomes for residents,” said Hiqa.

The chief executive said there were 'service challenges' that the home had to improve. However, he was adamant that most problems arose as a result of outside factors. He said at least half the staff who left were recruited by the HSE or agencies.

Mr Brennan says the problems arose due to the HSE embarking on a recruitment campaign. He claimed 1,000 trained nurses were soaked up nationally from nursing homes like Drominín causing a 'crisis' in the sector. He said nursing homes were 'soft targets'.

“The HSE opened up to recruitment and we lost 10 to 12 of staff because the HSE was in a position to pay much higher rates than private nursing homes,” he said.

The chief executive said some of these staff have moved to posts in Portlaoise hospital but were 'extremely happy' to work at Drominin.

“It is simply a fact that private nursing homes cannot compete with HSE,” he said.

Mr Brennan said other issues arose from staff restructuring to move away from part time work and set rotas had an impact and led to some staff leaving. He said there was 'pain' in this and some staff did react negatively.

He said the privately-run home is not viable unless there are sufficient residents. He added that public nursing homes receive far more from the State than private homes.

He said Drominín had scored well in Hiqa inspections since opening in 2011.