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, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the issues cited require urgent attention.
“I note with great concern the news today 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.
“It has been noted previously that Nursing Homes Ireland introduced visitor restrictions for nursing homes on the 4th March, but were criticised by the Department of Health for moving too fast in this regard.
“It took a further ten days for the Department of Health to give their approval for such measures, and, in my view, this decision has proved to be a monumental and fatal error for many of our most vulnerable citizens.
“I believe it is important that there is an acknowledgement that this decision was the wrong one, and I think the Minister and the Department need to acknowledge this.
“Nursing Homes Ireland 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 been addressed up to now.
“Alongside answers to these pressing questions, the immediate priority must be to do all we can 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.”