Dáil debates

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Ceisteanna - Questions

Programme for Government

4:35 pm

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

In response to Deputy Boyd Barrett's point, there are two dimensions. Our system has evolved. The Deputy mentioned himself that those particular nursing homes were Covid free. We need to put on record that quite a lot of nursing homes in Ireland did well in preventing Covid from spreading within them. I do take the Deputy's point that in the initial response, all the emphasis was on the acute services, for understandable reasons in terms of protecting ICU capacity and so on. There was a very significant spread of the virus within nursing homes which caused loss of life. That has happened in other societies. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. To be fair, since then over recent months, a lot of support has been put behind nursing homes in terms of personal protective equipment, PPE, engagement with the HSE and clinical oversight. That is important. The testing has been really systematic and the HSE has organised to do testing of nursing homes and staff of nursing homes on a regular basis. I would favour the development of home-based care. There will always be a need for nursing home care but we need to resource home-based care significantly as well, and to enable people to avail of the fair deal scheme in the context of home-based care. I will follow up with the Deputy in respect of the exact situation in St. Mary's and Caritas.


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