Terms and conditions for nursing home workers must be reviewed swiftly

19 August 2020

Labour Party Leader and Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has said any review with a view to improving terms and conditions for those who work in nursing homes must be concluded quickly.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I welcome the publication of the first report of the Covid-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel and I hope the Government and private nursing home operators will work together to ensure that all recommendations are implemented.

“It has been horrific to see such large numbers of nursing home residents contracting Covid-19 and indeed many dying since this virus landed on our shores. The fact that over 50% of Covid deaths in Ireland have been residents of nursing homes or residential care facilities is a massive blot on our society.

“We all know that the nursing home sector has seen real deficiencies when it comes to PPE. They simply did not have enough PPE. We all know that the lack of PPE was a real issue at the beginning of this crisis and we need to have a plan for the long-term provision of PPE in our nursing homes.

“We need HIQA to play a more proactive role in nursing home inspections for the foreseeable future. The slow pace of inspections prior to June was extremely disappointing. The fact that HIQA had provided the Department of Health with a list of what they believed would be high-risk nursing homes at the beginning of the pandemic and they weren’t given extra support or inspected cannot be allowed to happen ever again.

“I especially welcome the fact that a review into the pay and conditions for those who work in nursing home settings. This review must be concluded swiftly. If we want to increase the number of people working in our nursing homes, we need to ensure that pay and conditions are massively improved.

“As well as being future focused, families of those in nursing homes where there have been mass outbreaks are entitled to know the full truth of what happened, the measures management took to deal with the outbreak at the initial stage and all the facts around the HSE’s response.”

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