Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Health
562. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a policy of requiring patients presenting at some hospitals or HSE Covid-19 testing facilities to wear a surgical mask rather than higher grade masks such as FFP2 and N95, which they arrived with and the requirement to replace the latter with a surgical mask should a patient present with one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62679/21]
563. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to provide adequate ventilation systems or air sanitisers for care home settings; his plans to provide funding for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62686/21]
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) of the HSE has developed, published and regularly reviews a comprehensive package of public health and infection prevention and control guidance for long-term residential care facilities. This includes the comprehensive “Public Health & Infection Prevention & Control Guidelines on the Prevention and Management of Cases and Outbreaks of COVID-19, Influenza & other Respiratory Infections in Residential Care Facilities”, most recently updated on 30thNovember 2021. This guidance also refers to ventilation, providing advice on circumstances where ventilation may be improved. Additionally, there are well established regulations and standards, including HIQA’s National Standards for infection prevention and control (IPC) in community services which provide a comprehensive package of IPC measures.
Regulation 17 of the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013 also requires registered providers to provide premises that conform to specific matters set out in the regulations, which includes “ventilation, heating and lighting suitable for residents in all parts of the designated centre which are used by resident”. As such, registered providers may make a determination on any appropriate interventions having regard to their individual circumstances.