May 1, 2020
Only 54 ‘Be On Call for Ireland’ health staff put to work despite nursing homes crying out for help – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said it is utterly baffling how only 54 health workers who volunteered out of around 73,000 people through ‘Be On Call for Ireland’, have been put to work in the health service, despite nursing homes and residential care facilities crying out for help for weeks now.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“A significant number of healthcare workers in the thousands answered the call to help in the fight against COVID19 and signed up to help through ‘Be On Call for Ireland’.

“However, only 54 health workers have been placed in jobs.

“This is in spite of the fact that nursing homes and residential care facilities crying out for additional staff for weeks now to help them fight COVID19 and ensure their capacity to continue to deliver care safely.

“The government and the HSE made promises that they would release staff to the nursing home sector and residential care facilities, however, the numbers released has been derisory.

“It is estimated that nursing homes and residential care facilities could need an additional 2,000 staff including healthcare assistants, nurses, doctors, and consultant geriatricians to help them deliver medical care and safe lives from COVID19.

“It beggars’ belief that with tens of thousands of health staff applying to work through ‘Be On Call for Ireland’ and in the face of the crisis still gripping our nursing homes and residential care facilities, that these staff would not be fast-tracked to get them into the service and helping out.

“It is often said that if we control the controllables, everything else will follow. In this instance the Minister for Health can influence the number of staff that are hired and also the number of staff that are seconded to help nursing homes and residential care facilities where the virus is causing the most fatalities – he should be ensuring that there is a focus on the need for additional staffing for congregated and residential settings.

“They government need help to plug staffing gaps and help continue to deliver safe care, and work towards breaking the chain of virus transmission in nursing homes and residential care facilities.”

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