The failure to quickly and efficiently redeploy HSE staff to nursing homes is leaving our most vulnerable citizens more susceptible to Covid-19. In light of the prevalence of Covid-19 in nursing homes and the high numbers of deaths, this must become the number one priority for Government, according to Róisín Shortall, TD and co-leader of the Social Democrats.

Commenting on the matter, Deputy Shortall said, “Nursing homes are in crisis because they are severely understaffed, and it is costing lives. The package of measures announced by the Government two weeks ago to better support nursing home staff, while welcome, were belated and came after many staff had already left or became sick.

“The public’s efforts to stay at home is successfully flattening the curve, and this has freed up many hospital beds and staff. Many of these HSE staff are ready and willing to be redeployed under the agreement reached between their union and Government, but the coordination of their redeployment is failing and leaving nursing homes exposed.

“Indeed today on Morning Ireland, a consultant in the Mater Hospital Dr Jack Lambert made it very clear that some of his staff were ready and available to assist in local nursing homes. You have to ask, what is the reason for delay in responding to these offers?

“There is a disconnect between the staff ready for redeployment and the HSE response and coordination, and it is costing us time. The failure to address this will inevitably mean more lives lost to the pandemic, many unnecessarily.

“We need an immediate decision from the highest levels in Government to ensure that no further time is lost and to insist on prioritising the coordination of a large-scale redeployment effort.”

20th April 2020

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