The Social Democrats have called for the Minister for Health to provide full information to the public on the situation in nursing homes in respect of Covid-19. In the absence of this information there is growing public concern about how this important sector of the health service is responding to the health crisis.

Making the call, Roisin Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said:

“There are reports of high levels of infection and death rates in nursing homes in other countries which give cause for serious concern about what’s happening in this country. According to a report just published by the LSE, Ireland has the second highest percentage of deaths from Covid-19 in care homes, at 54%, following Spain at 57%.

“The failure of the Minister for Health to respond to legitimate queries which I raised with him last Wednesday is disappointing and I urge him to now answer the questions posed, so that nursing home residents and their families are fully informed and hopefully can be reassured.”

13th April 2020

Editors Notes:

1. Text of an email which was sent to the Minister for Health by Ms Shortall last Wednesday, 8th April, and which has not yet been responded to:

Dear Minister,

I’m writing to you to seek clarity and information on a number of questions which arise in relation to the response to and management of Covid 19 in nursing homes as follows:

  1. What are the protocols in place to guide decision-making around the management of cases of the virus in nursing home residents, particularly in relation to whether they are referred to an acute hospital or cared for in the nursing home?
  2. Who/what grade of professional takes these critical decisions?
  3. Who is responsible for the oversight of the operation of these protocols?
  4. What arrangements are in place for the provision of palliative care in nursing homes where a resident is not hospitalised?
  5. What is the position in non-registered nursing homes?
  6. Why are figures not provided for the number of deaths in nursing homes and can these be provided?
  7. Are residents and their families informed if there is a Covid 19 outbreak in a nursing home?
  8. How many private-sector nursing homes have been taken over by HSE management?
  9. For what purpose was the allocation of €72M made to this sector?

I would appreciate your early response to the above questions.

Best regards,

Róisín Shortall

2. Study from the London School of Economics ‘International Long Term Care Policy Network’ Mortality associated with Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes: early international evidence is available here:


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