Further urgent action needed on nursing homes crisis – Matt Carthy TD
Sinn Féin Deputy also calls for PPE to Home Carers
Speaking following the news that a member of the Irish Medical Council has resigned due to the handling of the Covid-19 crisis in nursing homes, Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin Deputy Matt Carthy said that the issues cited require urgent action.
This week, Carthy also reiterated his call for home help carers to be allocated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stating that he was disappointed that this principle had yet to be agreed by government.
Deputy Carthy said:
“A lot of concern has been conveyed to me regarding the prevalence of Covid-19 in nursing homes. Certainly, these concerns were exemplified by the news on Monday that a member of the Irish Medical Council has submitted their resignation to the Minister for Health Simon Harris, citing his belief that the Department of Health have failed to adequately address the Covid-19 crisis in nursing homes and other residential care settings.
“The fact that when Nursing Homes Ireland introduced visitor restrictions for nursing homes on the 4th March they were criticised by the Department of Health for moving too fast in this regard raises questions.
“It took a further ten days for the Department of Health to give their approval for such measures, and it appears that this decision has proved to be a monumental and fatal error for many of our most vulnerable citizens.
“I support the call by the Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Louise O’Reilly, that there be an acknowledgement that this decision was the wrong one, and that the Minister and the Department should state this categorically. It is only when mistakes are acknowledged that the public can be confident that they won’t be repeated.
“The Nursing Homes sector have also stated that they made numerous requests to the Minister for Health and his officials for a meeting in the early days of this crisis, but that this was not forthcoming until the end of March. This is a point raised specifically in the resignation letter sent to the Minister, and this issue has also not yet been addressed.
“As well as acknowledging mistakes made and answering the remaining pressing questions, the immediate government priority must be to do all necessary to ensure those in residential care settings are protected and cared for. That means fast tacking the implementation of staff redeployment, as well as improving PPE access without any further delay. Those who reside in these settings, and those who care for them, deserve no less.
“The issue of PPE provision is also important for those who are cared for in their home. Home Help carers have been seeking protective clothing since the onset of this pandemic. The Department of Health and the HSE continue to insist that it is not required. That position makes no sense. Home Help carers often care for several elderly citizens. It is patently clear that they should be provided with the necessary equipment to protect themselves and those who they visit.
“I have raised this matter with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, on a number of occasions, and I will continue to press for this issue to be addresses before we see another system failure emerge”.