Social Democrats TD for Dublin Bay North, Cian O’Callaghan, said that today’s publication of the Report on Covid-19 in Nursing Homes must lead to urgent reform of the sector and highlights the need for a statutory right to home care.

Deputy O’Callaghan said:

“As the country stands on the cusp of a second wave of Covid-19, the Government must immediately act on the recommendations of this report to ensure the highest standard of care and statutory clinical oversight at public and private nursing homes.

“Today’s report has highlighted the glaring gaps in the system which led to so many deaths of vulnerable people in our nursing homes during this pandemic.

“The report shows that we need to rapidly rethink how we approach the care of vulnerable, older people and is proof positive that privatisation is not working for this sector.

“We need to see care, clinical governance and the wellbeing of older people at the very heart of these services. The focus should be on high quality, publicly provided services, including a radical shift to home care to allow people to be independent for as long as possible.

“Key recommendations of the report include the development of infection prevention and control strategies in nursing home settings, as well as the need for a robust and effective test and trace programme. It says the influenza vaccine should be prioritised for all residents and consideration should be given to making it mandatory for staff.

“I welcome that the report also recommends a review of the employment terms and conditions of healthcare workers in the sector and seeks to end the practice of staff working in multiple nursing homes, which has been considered a factor in the spread of the virus.”

August 19, 2020

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