It has come to light that seven residents of a nursing home in in Navan have lost their lives after contracting Covid-19. The Milbury Nursing Home had its first case just a month ago. 

Local TD Peadar Tóibín said he extended “deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of all those who have lost their lives.”

“I understand that Nursing Home has had 13 cases to date. The home like many others has lost a significant number of staff, 25 in total who have had to self-isolate. Our respect and gratitude go to the front line workers who have been battling the virus throughout the country. I believe that the staff and management of the Nursing Home have done all they can to try and stop the spread of the virus however there have been significant mistakes by the government,!” the Aontú leader said.

“Milbury asked that that there would be blanket testing of residents and staff. This was refused so far. Its maybe going ahead in the next few days but we are 10 weeks into this crisis. At the start of March many Nursing Homes instituted restrictions on visitors to 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 in many Nursing Homes.  Visiting remained open in many Nursing Homes until the government did a U turn 3 weeks later and banned visits to Nursing Homes”.

“On the 19th of March Nursing Homes Ireland wrote to the Minister for Health Simon Harris seeking an urgent meeting or conference call “to ensure NHI can continue to provide high quality, safe care to the 25,000 residents in the care of our members”.

“However on the 25th March Nursing Homes Ireland stated that no meeting with the Minister had happened ‘despite a number of requests’. They said they were ‘disappointed’ with this and reissued their called for an urgent meeting”.

“On the 4th April the government announced “Staff screening will start in nursing homes twice a day. COVID-19 testing will be prioritised for staff. The HSE will provide access to PPE, expert advice and training.  On the same day the government announced a Financial Support Scheme for Nursing Homes. Yet two weeks later testing had not started and not a single cent had been spent”.

“Nursing Homes Ireland have sought representation on their nursing homes sub-committee of National Public Health Emergency Team but this for some reason has been refused”.

“I am calling for an independent review into the government’s handling and treatment of nursing homes and other residential care facilities, including psychiatric centres, during this crisis. Why did  the government exclude staff in nursing homes and nursing home representatives – the real experts in the field – from the National Public Health Emergency Team. Why were visits to Nursing Homes not stopped when the sector sought them to be stopped, why the delay in the testing of staff and residents and why the delay in the spending of much needed funds,” Deputy Tóibín said.