Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the Taoiseach to commit to an Investigation into the crisis in the Nursing Home sector. He says he seeks to ensure “for Public Health reasons, that we do not repeat these mistakes again”. Deputy Tóibín said the investigation “should happen after the Coronavirus crisis subsides”.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday at Leaders’ questions the Aontú leader said;
“The timeline of inaction beggars belief. At the start of March many Nursing Homes instituted restrictions by visitors to their Nursing Homes. But on the 10th of March the government said “Socially restrictive actions around hospitals and nursing homes are not necessary at this moment in time”. The next day visiting was reopened with many Nursing Homes remaining open for another full 3 weeks until it was banned by the government”.
“On March 17th the HSE directed that nursing homes to promote hand washing and erected information posters. Remember the global death toll to Covid-19 on this day was 7,500 people. In March many Nursing Homes sought blanket testing of staff and residents. On the 4th of April the government promised blanket testing of staff and residents. Yet blanket testing is only happening now”.
“The testing reveals a shocking picture. There are now 1,944 confirmed cases of the virus in Nursing homes. This is 61% higher than the government figures on Monday. The scale of this differential underlines how critical proper testing and information is to manage the crisis in Nursing homes”.
“On the 19th of March Nursing Homes Ireland wrote to the Minister for Health seeking an urgent meeting or conference call. However nearly 2 weeks later, in response to a press release by Nursing Homes Ireland complaining of no meeting, the Minister pledged that we would meet with Nursing Homes Ireland in the future”.
“On the same day the government announced a Financial Support Scheme for Nursing Homes. Yet as of yesterday, 2 and ½ weeks later, no money from this fund has been spent in any Nursing Home in the country. This is astounding”
“And all the while staff in nursing homes and their representatives have been excluded from the National Public Health Emergency Team”.
“Do you not agree Taoiseach that when this crisis subsides there must be an independent investigation into these disastrous mistakes. Will you commit to this Taoiseach?”, Deputy Tóibín asked.
The government has been criticised for a series of errors made since the crisis began which have led to an escalation of deaths at nursing homes.