A number of significant Government policy failures in relation to older people’s services have ultimately cost lives in the Covid-19 crisis, the Covid-19 Committee heard today from Deputy Róisín Shortall, TD and co-leader of the Social Democrats.

She made the point during today’s question session with Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, and Meryvn Taylor, Executive Director of Sage Advocacy.

“Bereaved families are paying a very high price for policy failures which have been tragically exposed in the past months,” she said.

“The two-tier health service, chronic underfunding of social care, privatisation of the nursing home sector, lack of statutory entitlement to homecare, and light touch regulation within the nursing home sector have converged to create a sector which has ultimately failed older people in this crisis.

“We heard today that there are no safe staffing ratios required for the sector as a whole and no policy to regulate the movement of staff between homes, which is regarded as a factor for the spread of the virus in this sector. How does this constitute the best care for our older people?

“Government cannot continue to outsource responsibility for social care. The privatisation of nursing homes must be called into question as a direct result of this crisis. We need a whole new approach to the care of older people which respects their wishes and supports them to live as independently as possible in their own homes.”


26 May 2020

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