The IPA is calling for a full independent investigation into the reported deaths at residential home

Media Release Thursday 28th May 2020 14:00 Hrs The Irish Patients Association is calling for a full independent investigation into the reported deaths outlined in todays HSE report at residential care settings. Of the 1,615 Deaths recorded nationally on Tuesday 26th May 2020 from COVID19. Today, a HSE report states that 1,030 deaths of these occurred at 167 residential settings which includes community hospitals, long stay units, residential institutions and nursing homes. At the recent Special Committee on Covid-19 Response debate - Tuesday, 26 May 2020, Pheilim Quinn, the CEO of HIQA stated that “from the onset of this public health emergency, HIQA has endeavoured to make an effective contribution to the national response through our interactions with the Department of Health, the HSE, providers, residents and relatives”. Mary Dunnion, the Chief Inspector of Social Services also gave evidence before the Special Committee. The Chief Inspector is accountable directly to the Oireachtas for the performance of her statutory duties of registering and inspecting nursing homes under Part 8 of the Health Act 2007. Mary Dunnion’ s consistent position has been that, as the independent regulator of nursing homes, the Chief Inspector performs her statutory functions of registering and inspecting nursing homes independently of HIQA, the HIQA Board and others. The Office of the Chief inspector registers and inspects 584 nursing homes accommodating approximately 30,000 residents. The Chief Inspector, as part of her registration and inspection functions under the Health Act, conducts interviews to establish the fitness of all persons who are registered by the Chief Inspector to be the Persons-in-Charge of all private and voluntary nursing homes. The Chief Inspector, on an ongoing basis, conducts inspections of nursing homes to assess the compliance by the persons-in-charge with ministerial regulations and HIQA Standards, including the Care & Welfare Regulations amended recently by Simon Harris, the Minister of Health on 2 October 2017. The Persons-in-Charge of nursing homes are, as a rule, registered nurses and are statutory responsible for clinical supervision and care and welfare of residents within the nursing homes. The assessment of the fitness of Persons-in-Charge and ongoing compliance assessment is the statutory responsibility of Mary Dunnion, the Chief Inspector. In this context, at the recent Oireachtas committee, the Chief Inspector said, “we identified premises that would be challenged in the context of managing Covid-19 outbreaks. Our findings would have been communicated to the Department of Health and the HSE. We are talking about February and March.” Phelim Quinn, the CEO of HIQA has a seat on NPHET. Mary Dunnion, the Chief Inspector, has had no seat on NPHET, despite the unfolding tragedy in the Irish nursing home sector. We are just emerging from the country’s first phase of COVID-19, a second phase may occur, the severity will depend on us all looking out for each other and being open to learning from the mistakes of the past and being accountable for the welfare of the elderly, vulnerable, frail and sick people in the State-regulated nursing homes up and down the county. . The Irish Patients Association is calling for a full independent investigation into the reported deaths outlined in todays HSE report at residential care settings. Further, the Irish Patients Association calls on the Government to establish a full investigation of the independence and effectiveness of the State’s regulation of private and voluntary nursing, with a particular focus on the role of the Chief Inspector to date in the State’s response to the national tragedy that has unfolded in nursing homes under her regulatory remit. It is understood that the Irish nursing home regulator profiled certain nursing homes as high risk and provided a list in March 2020 to the Department of Health. It is important that all patients, residents and families understand the reasons why that list was prepared, why it was handed to the Department of Health by the independent regulator and why there was no communication with the residents or their families regarding that list at the relevant time. It will also be necessary to establish whether or not all operators whose names appear on that list were informed by the independent regulator. It will be important to establish how many of the nursing home names appearing in today’s Irish Times, also appear on the list relayed by the regulator through HIQA to the Department of Health as list of high -risk nursing homes. Finally, it will also be necessary to establish when did Phelim Quinn, HIQA’s CEO become aware of the list, when was HIQA’s Board made aware of the list, when was the HSE Board made aware of the list and when was NPHET made aware of the list

CONTACT

Irish Patients’ Association,

Email: info@irishpatients.ie

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