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Bradshaw says it is extremely concerning after RQIA board resigns

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said it is extremely concerning the board of the watchdog responsible for oversight of care homes has resigned en masse.

The nine board members of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) claimed they were not consulted on a number of decisions taken by the Department of Health, including inspections of care homes during the pandemic and deploying RQIA staff to other bodies.

“For some time, there have been significant concerns about the communication coming from the Department of Health, and now the entire board of RQIA has resigned over it, we are faced with a significant crisis in our healthcare regulation function at the worst possible time. This is extremely concerning,” said the South Belfast MLA.

“We on the Assembly Health Committee have for some time had difficulty understanding RQIA’s role with regard to care homes during the pandemic and clearly concerns were elevated by increased infections in care homes, leading to a second peak around April 23.

“What is required now is a clear statement of the facts from the Minister, along with publication of all relevant correspondence, to understand exactly what the issues were, to make sure our care homes are much better prepared and equipped, not least in case there is a further wave of infections later in the year.”