Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has reiterated his call for a Special Oireachtas Committee to examine how nursing homes handled the Covid-19 pandemic.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Today’s HIQA report demonstrates the clear need for a Special Oireachtas Committee to perform an in-depth examination of nursing homes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“According to HIQA, almost 60% of outbreaks in nursing homes inspected were more severe than they should have been due to weak governance and management. Half were not following proper infection prevention and control measures, and not a single one of the 44 homes inspected were fully compliant with regulations.
“It is my firm view that we need a full, comprehensive and compassionate Oireachtas Committee to look at these issues. We have only scratched the surface of this tragedy in the Covid-19 Committee. There is much more yet to examine.
“This new Committee would be time limited and would examine such issues as the preparation and planning for Covid-19, the preparation of guidelines and procedures, as well as communications and the structural relationship that exists between nursing homes, the Department of Health and the HSE. We must also examine issues relating to clinical governance and the ability of nursing homes to deal with the spread of Covid-19.
“We must clearly identify the facts to make recommendations on the future of the nursing home sector and its relationship with the health service. Any Oireachtas examination would be without prejudice to any potential statutory inquiry.
“Over 1,000 people died prematurely as a result of Covid-19 in nursing homes. That is more than 60% of Covid-19 related mortalities in this State. Only Canada has a higher mortality rate in nursing homes.
“It is vital that any Oireachtas examination considers the views and experiences of those who have lost loved ones, the residents of nursing homes, and representatives of staff and management.”