CMO Interview Raises Serious Questions on Nursing Homes Policy

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TD says CMO interview raises serious questions on Nursing Homes policy

“Growing concern that elderly were not in the thoughts of Government or HSE as virus spread,” says Brid Smith TD

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith has said statements from CMO Tony Holohan did not explain the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 on the elderly in nursing homes and Government and HSE inaction on safeguarding the most vulnerable cohort.

Prof. Holohan said the delay in restrictions on visitors to nursing homes were not the reason for the spread in these settings. The CMO claimed on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that the virus was spread by staff.

Reacting to this, Bríd Smith TD said: “This raises very serious questions. In justifying one policy that delayed the visitor restrictions, the CMO is claiming the virus was spread by staff, yet when asked in early March about testing staff working with the elderly, the suggestion was dismissed by the CMO.”

The TD said: “The scandal of what has happened in the nursing homes cannot be explained away, if the lack of actions in regards to visiting doesn’t explain it, a lack of testing  and the model of agency staff and a general disregard or deprioritising of the elderly couldexplain it.

“Either way the numbers who have died represents a massive policy failure and there continues to be unanswered questions around the low levels of residents with Covid-19 in nursing homes making it to intensive care in hospitals.  We will need a real investigation into all these deaths to learn the lessons in the future, many TDs are still waiting for answers asked of the Minister weeks ago in relation to the care given in nursing home settings for Covid-19 residents.”

The TD said the immediate task in the sector was to provide “a universal public care system for the elderly across the county so future crisis could be avoided and we have proper staffing levels and care regardless of where the home is. The fragmented and overwhelmingly private nature of the sector has to end.”