April 23, 2024
Health

Health and social care committee urged to improve staff vetting


  • By John Fernandez
  • BBC Guernsey political reporter

Image caption,

Deputy Liam McKenna has demanded HSC look into the backgrounds of all staff who work within the committee

Concerns have been raised about who vets staff in Guernsey’s Health and Social Care Committee (HSC).

The workers, who no longer work in Guernsey, were only vetted by the agency and not HSC.

Deputies Liam McKenna and Lester Queripel have demanded HSC look into the backgrounds of all staff who work within the committee.

Mr McKenna said: “I do think in the future all agency staff should be vetted like all local HSC staff should be vetted.”

He described the case involving the abused man in care as a “devastating situation for the family”.

He said: “I hope this will never happen again and we will have to be very stringent on our policy of vetting whatever staff come in as any healthcare professional should be.”

When confronted about concerns surrounding the vetting of agency staff, HSC President Al Brouard said: “It’s always going to be difficult when we can’t find our own staff on island, of course we rely on the agencies to do the vetting for us, and they let us down.”

He said: “I think it is all wrong that HSC doesn’t vet all of its staff. HSC should be all over it, you’re relying on an agency to make sure your staff are behaving correctly.

“We definitely need major change.”

Image caption,

Former Chief Minister Gavin St Pier is a long-standing critic of the committee

Former Chief Minister Gavin St Pier said: “The idea you can outsource that responsibility with no real quality control or check is a concern.

“The reality is in this case because agency workers were involved, it was probably a much easier case for HSC to deal with and I think the sad reality is if it involved permanent staff then I think Julia would have found it even harder to get answers to her questions.”

Mr St Pier has been a long-term critic of the culture within HSC which he’s described as “secretive”.

He said: “It comes back to the culture that allows an environment where this kind of incident can arise.

“I think the idea that HSC can say our safeguarding processes have worked and there is nothing to see here doesn’t reflect the reality that there was no ability to pursue a prosecution.

He added: “The staff that were in a position to act as witnesses were simply not in a position to do so because they were concerned about making those complaints and I think that again is a reflection of a the culture they are operating in.”

In a statement about the case Deputy Al Brouard said: “Any time a concern is raised we take all necessary and appropriate steps as part of our established and robust safeguarding process.

“In this case, our investigation found that the care delivered fell well below the standards we seek to meet and three agency staff were immediately removed from providing care for HSC.

“We also provided relevant information to the agencies that supplied the staff so they could consider whether they should be placed in any health or social care settings in future.”



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