May 6, 2020
Failure to redeploy HSE staff to nursing homes may prolong COVID-19 crisis – Louise O’Reilly

Louise OR' ReillySinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said that the failure of the government to provide HSE staff to help deal with COVID-19 in private nursing homes is “beyond concerning”.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said: “Nursing homes and residential care facilities are struggling significantly to deal with COVID-19.

“These nursing homes have also lost huge numbers of staff and this is impacting on their capacity to deliver care safely.

“It is estimated that the private nursing home sector alone could need a 2,000 additional HSE staff to help deal with the crisis.

“Promises were made, particularly to the private nursing home sector, that HSE staff, inclusive of healthcare assistants, nurses, doctors and consultant geriatricians, would be seconded to help treat patients with COVID-19 and ensure that care homes could continue to deliver care safely.

“Commitments were also given to me, and other politicians, last week in the Dáil by the Minister for Health that HSE staff would be deployed to private nursing homes in significant numbers.

“However, following a video conference today with the main party health spokespeople, the HSE revealed that only 100 staff had been seconded from the HSE to private nursing homes as of today.

“This is beyond concerning given the scale of the crisis in the nursing home sector.

“The Minister and HSE need to take a firm grip of this situation and organise for the dynamic deployment of staff to nursing homes, including the appointment of geriatricians to play a hands-on role.

“Failure to do this will mean that the crisis will continue and it will take significantly longer to break the chain of virus transmission in the private nursing home sector.”

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