CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly and Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd in the Dáil today at the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response
At the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response in the Dáil.
Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd raised with CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly the millions of euro in profits made by nursing homes; and how just 123 of 581 nursing homes were fully compliant with HIQA.
Initially, Mr O’Dowd went through a timeline of correspondence and contact between the NHI and the Department of Health during the coronavirus crisis, including a conference call Mr O’Dowd claimed took place with the Minister for Health Simon Harris on March 19.
Mr Daly said he didn’t believe such a conference call with the minister took place. He said the first meeting with the minister took place on March 30. Mr O’Dowd said his information is that the conference call with the minister did take place on March 19.
Mr O’Dowd told the committee that the correspondence shows that “nobody from NPHET asked Nursing Home Ireland not to tell families where the cases or clusters were”, a claim reported on the front page of the Business Post at the weekend.
The Fine Gael TD said:
“The key point I’m making to you is your statement that ‘key State organisations left the nursing home sector and its residents isolated’ is patently and obviously untrue.”
“You’ve 12 directors, all businessmen and businesswomen. I looked at their accounts and there’s some very wealthy companies represented among your directors who are very fine people in every respect. €23.3million was a profit in the last accounting year for eight of those directors and for the other directors, I can’t get the accounts because they’re a part of other companies.
“So would it be fair to say that the nursing home sector is a privately funded organisation and has a lot of money for buying things like PPE for doing test, for paying for staff accommodation, for paying for extra staff in this crisis?”
Mr Daly said: “Yes, absolutely…”
Asked later what funds NHI spend additionally to the normal nursing homes funds to get PPE, to pay for testing and extra staff, Mr Daly said:
“It runs into the millions and I can get those figures for you.”
Mr O’Dowd argued:
“You were recompensed… and I’m not saying that’s not a bad thing. You got the money back that you spent. That’s the point I’m making. To say that you were left isolated is not a fact.”
“In the last public report on your nursing homes, how many of them were compliant fully with HIQA regulations? Of the 581 homes, how many were fully compliant?”
Mr Daly said he didn’t know.
Mr O’Dowd said:
“Well I have…the fact is that 123 only, of the 581 nursing homes, public, private, not-for-profit, were fully compliant. And of those, governance and management, there was a failure under that governance and management regulation of 32%. Residents rights failure of 23% non-compliance. Risk management 22%. And infection control 18%.”
At the end of his contribution, Mr O’Dowd referenced an article in The Guardian about Hong Kong, saying:
“The point is you are making the point that the State, or the HSE or the minister or department didn’t assist you: I believe that you did and I believe you could have done a lot more for yourself and you didn’t do that.
“…. I am going to say this as loud as I can. And it is exceptionally clear and it is something that I say all my life. That the care of old people, older people in nursing homes is not acceptable. That the nursing home private sector is not compliant in the main, right across. That they are very wealthy companies who complain that the taxpayer isn’t doing enough for them.
“I want to say exceptionally clearly that we need a total change in the way the care of older people is looked at….We’ve to stop this game of blaming everybody and to accept the facts: the facts are that we’re not doing enough. We’ve never done enough and unless things change now, we’re going to go down the same road…
“…In Hong Kong, there is no death certificate in all of Hong Kong for one person from a nursing home who had Covid-19 because nobody died there. Nobody died there. And I just get so angry at this.
“And I think, sorry Mr Chairman, I’ve 14 seconds left. Let me say that I think that we need to move forward together but we must establish the facts and the truth is the truth and the truth will out. We have to change absolutely, radically, everything to do with older people.”
Watch live here
Previously: Meanwhile In The Dáil
That said: docs published by Govt this morning include a NHI survey of members conducted in early April, in which one home said it had resorted to using painters’ overalls as PPE, because they could not get it from the HSE.
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) May 26, 2020
Email from Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland to Minister Jim Daly flagging concern about supply of PPE from Feb 28. “We are concerned at the fact that private and voluntary nursing homes have not received PPE and members are reporting that they are unable to access same.” pic.twitter.com/AWBw2Dnz6f
— Ken Foxe (@kenfoxe) May 26, 2020
You can read all of this correspondence and more on Dept of Health website: https://t.co/LDvE3Vqyzn
— Ken Foxe (@kenfoxe) May 26, 2020