April 23, 2020
Alarming rate of staff vacancies in nursing homes – Louise O’Reilly TD

Louise OR' ReillySinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has called for necessary supports such as additional staff and personal protective equipment (PPE) to be provided to nursing homes as a matter of urgency as most of the private nursing home sector is still in the grip of the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The nursing home sector, and the private nursing home sector in particular, is still in the grips of the COVID-19 crisis.

“A survey from Nursing Homes Ireland has shown a high level of staff vacancies, especially among nurses and healthcare assistants.

“Latest figures show that there has been a sharp increase in the number of nursing home residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has revealed the increasing case rate across the sector, while the number of nursing home residents who have died from the coronavirus has also been rising.

“Despite this, the sector, and particularly the private nursing home sector, are desperately short of staff and Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE).

“The sector has been gripped in crisis and desperately in need of supports for some time and the government need to move with might and main on this issue.

“Medical and nursing staff need to be seconded to the private nursing home sector from the HSE in their hundreds, including consultant geriatricians.

“The sector is lacking hundreds of staff due to some being infected, but also because staff have left and enlisted to work in the acute hospital sector when the government started recruiting at the beginning of the crisis.

“Both of these issues have left the sector devoid of the necessary staff to run the homes, but also to treat sick residents.

“This must be urgently addressed, and HSE staff need to be released to work at the frontline of the crisis in our nursing homes.

“The nursing home sector is still seriously lacking PPE – masks in particular.

“We need to ensure that additional PPE is distributed to the nursing home sector. They are the epicentre of this crisis at the moment and we have to deliver the necessary supports and resources in order to fight the virus in the homes and break the chain of transmission.”

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