Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response

Covid-19: Infection Rate among Healthcare Workers (Resumed)

Photo of Matt ShanahanMatt Shanahan (Waterford, Independent)
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The HSE should put some urgency into that.

I mentioned infection-control protocols through the winter in our earlier session. I have witnessed some things that most people would see in hospitals. There are healthcare workers coming down to community areas such as canteens in their scrubs and then going back up to the wards. It may not be happening in Covid wards but it is certainly happening in the general hospitals. It is something that needs attention paid to it. There is also the issue of visitors transiting through the hospitals with no protection over their footwear, which is provided for in other hospitals engaged in infection prevention. The HSE needs to examine these issues and to become far more stringent about the movement of visitors through hospitals to maintain effective infection control. Perhaps this is something the HSE would look at.

This morning I also brought up the issue of doffing and donning PPE, and fatigue. The HSE needs to go back and look at doing more than training videos; it needs to be done in hospitals and time needs to be given to nurses in between shifts to take some time out. Certainly they should be helped with donning and doffing on Covid wards.

I engaged with Mr. Woods at our meeting last Friday and I remind him of the commitments that he gave me then on pressuring the cath lab modification situation at University Hospital Waterford. I hope to hear from him in the coming days with an update on that.

On the issue of specialist registrars, SpRs, who are out of contract, is there any opportunity to give them extended work contracts and to create consultant contracts in the workforce, considering we heard all morning about the complete under-supply of staff?