Our nursing homes were left ‘screaming for help’ – Wicklow TD
Wicklow’s nursing homes were left “screaming for help” as they battled the Covid crisis, Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Health Stephen Donnelly has said
He spoke as reports emerged there were 31 deaths at six different nursing homes across the county.
According to the Irish Times there were 10 deaths from Covid-19 at one nursing home in the north of the county.
The paper showed a breakdown of 1,030 deaths in 167 facilities caring for older people across the country, including community hospitals, long-stay units, residential institutions and nursing homes.
They include those who died with both suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Deputy Donnelly said his work on the newly established Covid Committee had painted a “dark picture” of how Wicklow’s nursing homes were dealt with by the State.
“Firstly, the figures contained in the media of the number of deaths from Covid in Wicklow and across the country should not have come into the public domain like that.
“They should have been published by the HSE. When I first raised the issue of Covid in nursing homes at the start of April I was flooded with concerned calls from anxious relatives wondering if it was a nursing home in Wicklow.
“People had a right to know if there was Covid in a nursing home where their relative was staying and those details should have been made public.
“Secondly, the way nursing homes in Wicklow and across the country have been treated has been appalling.
“The Covid Committee has heard how nursing staff were forced to use painters overalls and borrow goggles from schools to use as PPE.
“There were four week delays in testing and they had no voice on NPHET or even on the sub-committees looking at nursing homes.
“We know in early March patients from hospitals where there was Covid were moved to nursing homes without first being tested.
“This was done before the proper guidance was in place for the nursing homes on how to care for those patients or before they had the PPE needed to care for them.
“The nursing homes in Wicklow and everywhere else were screaming for help but they didn’t get it.
“The Community Health Organisation serving Wicklow has worked incredibly hard to help Wicklow’s nursing homes, while a national decision to leave nursing homes with no seat at the table made the job much harder.
“I have been working closely with Nursing Homes Ireland as well as their representatives in Wicklow to make sure their voices are never again ignored.”