A whistleblower in the case of 'Grace' has raised questions over a HSE-commissioned report into the vulnerable young woman’s care, which was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee during the week.
The whistleblower, who works in the service provider caring for Grace, has expressed concern over the omission of a table from the report, which quantifies the HSE's under-funding of Grace's care in terms of a percentage cut to the provider's funding levels.
'Grace' was left in a foster home for almost 20 years despite a succession of sexual abuse allegations.
Commenting on the omission on RTÉ’s This Week, the whistleblower said: "That table really falls central to the purpose of Deloitte doing this independent review.
"It answers the very question the Public Accounts Committee was posing, which was: what was the impact of the failure to fund Grace’s care on our organisation?"
In February 2016, the HSE was asked by then PAC Chairman John McGuinness to examine the funding given to the agency which cared for Grace, and in which two whistleblowers worked, and to examine any under-funding in terms of an effective cut.
The HSE commissioned Deloitte to write the report.
In April 2017, the HSE agreed in the High Court that it had under-funded Grace's care by €600,000 over the period she had resided with the whistleblowers' service provider between 2009 to the present.
The HSE also acknowledges this in the latest report, but stands over earlier figures it provided to the PAC.
A table in a draft version of the Deloitte report completed in May 2017 showed that the annual under-funding of over €70,000 per year amounted to an effective annual cut in the service provider's funding of as much as 8.8%.
However, the table is omitted from the final version of the report, which the HSE sent to the PAC last week.
In February 2016 the HSE informed the PAC that average annual cuts amounted to 4.9% for Grace's care providers.
In a statement, the HSE claimed that the information had been incorporated into other tables in the Deloitte report.
However, the HSE could not point to where the negative annual funding sum of €70,000, corresponding to the shortfall in Grace’s care, appears in the tables to which it referred.
In response to a query from RTÉ's This Week on why the table had been omitted, the HSE said: "How the tables are reflected in the final draft is a decision of Deloitte and no doubt reflects the entirety of the information available at that stage of the process."
The whistleblower in the service provider who spoke to This Week said that her organisation had not been shown the amended report for comment following the HSE's provision of any new information.
"I consider [the HSE's] response to be farcical," they said.
They added: "If there was any material change to the information supplied, in my view, they should have come back to us to ask us for our views and comments on that.
"We didn’t hear back from Deloitte or the HSE since August. We were told the HSE was outright rejecting the draft report and we offered to sit down and for Deloitte to mediate between the two parties to come to some agreement and understanding about the findings. That never happened."
Also speaking on This Week, John McGuinness said that he believed the omission of the table was an attempt by the HSE to "muddy the water" over the funding of Grace’s care service provider.
"To leave this table out of the final report is not acceptable," he said.
The whistleblower has called for the HSE to answer questions on the omission of the table from the report at the PAC and the Farrelly Commission into Grace's care.
Speaking on the same programme, Minister for Health Simon Harris said: "I would absolutely urge and have no doubt that the HSE will comply fully with [the Farrelly Commission]."