Nursing home supports and PPE delivery must be sped up - Ruairí Ó Murchú TD
The issue of PPE for nursing homes in Louth has been raised by Ruairí Ó Murchú who, at the weekend, wrote to a number in the Dundalk area offering assistance with acquiring protective equipment for them.
Mr Ó Murchú made the offer in the wake of the revelation from the head of Nursing Homes Ireland, Tadhg Daly, who said a memo had been issued from the HSE in this region stating that PPE would be prioritised for nursing homes that had confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19, leaving around 70% of care facilities at the back of the queue.
The Dundalk TD said he had been contacted by a number of individuals, charities and organisations in the North Louth area offering PPE for local nursing homes and he contacted the facilities with the offer of assistance.
Deputy Ó Murchú said:
"The revelation that PPE is to be, in effect, rationed, for nursing homes, is a very worrying development. I had spoken to Mr Daly about other HSE guidelines for care of residents with Covid-19 that were causing concern and upset for those in nursing homes and their families last week. This memo about PPE is even more disturbing.
"The April 15th memo from the HSE sent to nursing homes in Louth, Meath and the midlands stated that “Orders will now be based on the number of confirmed positive/suspect client cases in a unit/service.”
"It also said these orders will be based on an algorithm.
"Nursing homes in Louth have found themselves at the frontline of the battle against this pandemic but instead of being prioritised for resources, it seems that some could be the ones that are being left at the back of the queue, with potentially devastating consequences for residents and the brave staff who look after them.
"The issue of PPE and priority for nursing homes has been raised many times in the last number of weeks and it is still a massive problem, as this extraordinary memo shows. While we wait for the government to get their act together on sourcing PPE, people from Dundalk have stepped up and offered their assistance.
"This is welcome and residents and staff will no doubt be grateful for it. I am happy if I can be of assistance, but it shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t take acts of charity to get basic protective equipment into nursing homes. We need a more comprehensive solution and the state has to protect its most vulnerable members.
"We need to ensure the prioritising of nursing homes and we need the issues of PPE and the promised financial package for care of nursing home residents to be sped up and any problems dealt with. If there are any difficulties there has to be more clarity and transparency by government to ensure there is trust and that solutions can be found."