Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Health): Statements
Mary Butler (Waterford, Fianna Fail)
The prospect of a second wave of coronavirus infection throughout Europe is no longer a distant theory. I understand that we are also making our plans here. It is imperative that nursing homes, residential homes and care homes be given much higher status when these plans are being drawn up. I welcome what the Minister announced in his opening speech, that there will be a nursing home expert panel. I have a question on the make up of that panel. The Minister stated that the chair would be a public health expert and that there would also be a geriatrician, a senior nurse and a public interest representative involved. May I assume this will mean that somebody from Nursing Homes Ireland or from that area of expertise would be on the panel? We have noted that Nursing Homes Ireland was not represented on NPHET.
On Tuesday, at the meeting of the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, I questioned Dr. Colm Henry on the resumption of cancer screening services, which is a huge concern. I was disappointed with his answer because he said it is far too early to say when the screening programme will be back up and running and that the screening services will be focused on symptomatic patients in the short term. The Minister has also given us information that a clinical road map will be put in place for non-Covid care in a Covid environment. May I assume that the resumption of cancer screening services, particularly BreastCheck and CervicalCheck, will be included in that road map?