What’s happening with nursing homes & what can we do to help? Here are a few thoughts…(1/x)
Here’s the situation:
1. About 1/2 the COVID-19 fatalities are happening in, or coming from, nursing homes.
2. There are over 200 clusters in nursing homes & other care settings.
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) April 16, 2020
Stephen Donnelly, newly appointed Minister for Health and President Michael D. Higgins at Dublin Castle on Saturday: A tweet from Mr Donnelly in April
On RTÉ Radio One’s This Week, the new Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly had this exchange with journalist Justin Moran.
Justin Moran: “You’ve been highly critical of the way nursing homes were handled during the pandemic. Will there be a comprehensive inquiry into why there were so many deaths in nursing homes?”
Stephen Donnelly: “So the first thing we’ve got to do, Justin, is we’ve got to wait for the expert report. Minister Harris kicked it off some time ago. There is four people on it. It will be reporting, well I guess to me now in the coming weeks so let’s see what, let’s see what that says. But if a more detailed inquiry is required that is certainly something that we will look at.”
Moran: “So what are you going to do then to make sure that nursing homes, for example, aren’t as badly infected, if there is a second wave, as there were in the first?”
Donnelly: “Well, I’ll be meeting with the officials, meeting with the public health officials, meeting with the nursing homes and listening very carefully. What we have to do is make sure that there’s a comprehensive package of supports and protections in place. I do know that an extraordinary amount of work has been done at a national level and also at a community health organisation.
“There are frontline workers who have been working around the clock with the nursing homes to make sure that they can get the supports they need. The question we will be looking at in the coming days is: are all the supports that are needed in place? If not, what else needs to be done? And let’s make sure we get that done straight away.”
Listen back here
St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park, Dublin
…The team has requested a meeting with the whistleblower, a staff member from St Mary’s, to “confirm and validate an understanding of the nature of the disclosures” and examine any supplementary evidence.
Caoimhe Haughey, a solicitor representing the whistleblower, said she had concerns about the nature of the review and was seeking clarification from the HSE.
“The terms of reference are not clear at all,” she said.
“While the documents furnished to my client refer to the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and the HSE’s own Protected Disclosure Policy document, there is no provision for investigation of St Mary’s which is what was initially promised.”
She added: “As far as I am concerned it is unclear whether this investigation is strictly for the purposes of testing the veracity of the protected disclosure or whether it is for the purposes of commencing a formal investigation into the practices at St Mary’s.”
Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline