Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly has said that the refusal of the HSE and the Department of Health to clarify whether Covid-19 testing was carried out before patients were transferred to nursing homes is insulting to anyone who has lost a loved one in a nursing home.
Speaking after today’s Oireachtas Covid-19 Committee sitting, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“On a number of occasions now, I have tried to ascertain clarity from the HSE, the Department of Health and the Minister for Health as to whether testing was carried out on the hundreds of hospital patients who were transferred to nursing homes during the Covid-19 crisis.
“In March alone, 819 patients were transferred under the Nursing Home Support Scheme. That was more than double the number transferred in February.
“The refusal of the HSE and the Department of Health to clarity if Covid-19 testing was carried out before patients were transferred is insulting to anyone who has lost a loved one in a nursing home.
“It is also hindering the ability of the Oireachtas Covid-19 Committee to get to the truth of how our nursing homes became so badly affected and how they became such a source of clusters of the virus.
“It is clear from the discussion today that the HSE and Department of Health had a plan to use nursing homes but had no plan on how to protect them.
“That is why it appears that patients were transferred out from hospitals without being tested.
“The nursing home sector was completely failed in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis. They were left without a plan for the whole month of March.
“They were an afterthought to acute care, evidenced by the fact that patients were transferred from hospitals to nursing homes without being tested.”