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10 Aug 2022

Kildare North TD gets support for public inquiry into how so many elderly died in nursing homes during pandemic

"The inconsistency in the information from the Department  of Health and the HSE is worrying and detrimental to public trust."

Kildare North TD gets support for public inquiry into how so many elderly died in nursing homes during pandemic

A Kildare North TD is calling for more transparency from the HSE on the reporting of deaths from Covid 19, and is appealing for an inquiry into the reasons that so many old people died in nursing homes.

Sinn Féin TD for Kildare North Réada Cronin is expressing her sympathies to the families bereaved in Kildare North after the constituency featured so prominently in the fatality figures of Covid-19.

Deputy Cronin said:“The figures published on 28th May reveal a shocking deficit on the part of the state to protect our vulnerable citizens in nursing homes. These are people’s parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles."

She said:“My colleague Louise O’Reilly has requested that the chair of the Covid-19 Committee write to the HSE and the Dept of Health to call them back over the report as the committee had previously been told they didn’t have the figures that were published this morning. The inconsistency in the information from the Department  of Health and the HSE is worrying and detrimental to public trust."

She said:“There is mounting acknowledgement that Nursing Homes were left to fend for themselves early on in the pandemic. Many reports indicate that through lack of testing the virus was brought into some nursing homes."

Deputy Cronin said:“A lot of nursing homes lost a number of staff to illness during the pandemic. Over 73,000 people applied to “Be on Call for Ireland” yet figures earlier this month indicate that less than 100 had been placed into healthcare positions. This is hard to imagine given so many nursing homes needed staff to fill in for those unable to work.

She said:“Nursing Homes Ireland reported nursing homes having difficulty getting PPE after the HSE purchased most of the stock in the state leaving nursing homes without in many cases.The staff in these Nursing Homes have been to hell and back caring for patients they treat as family. HSE must not continue to let them down. Staff, many on low wages, will be traumatised and should be offered any necessary counselling."

She said:“We have a habit of saying this must never happen again in Ireland. This is not about blame but the only way we can make sure it does not happen again is by insisting on accountability. I agree with Pearse Doherty that this will likely need an inquiry.There was evidently a very slow response from the HSE to the crisis. Given the vulnerability of the age profile of most patients they should have been the priority."

Independent Cllr Íde Cussen said:"What has happened in the nursing homes is appalling. We need to know a timeline of events, those who told people what to do, need to explain. We failed our old people miserably."

Also the issue of postmortems determining Covid 19 as the cause of deaths needs to be examined, says Cllr Cussen.

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