Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (635)

Peadar Tóibín


635. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to instances in which staff in nursing homes are struggling to care for patients and are seeking assistance from members of the public or the HSE in feeding and providing drinks to patients. [2782/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The current rate of community transmission of COVID-19 is having a significant effect on nursing homes. As international evidence shows, the higher the rate of community transmission, the greater the risk to settings like nursing homes. Across the health and social care system the rate of COVID-19 transmission is having a significant impact on the availability of staff. The HSE continues to provide PPE and other necessary supports to nursing homes across the country to help prevent and control outbreaks of COVID-19. This includes staffing support, advice, and financial support through the Temporary Assistance Payment Scheme, which has provided over €60 million to nursing homes across the country to help improve their ability to respond to COVID-19. The current staffing situation is very challenging and the HSE, at local level, through the COVID-19 Response Teams, is making every effort to identify and provide staffing supports, including where appropriate through engagement with other State bodies.

Nursing homes must also continue to do their part by ensuring that they have robust contingency plans in place, including staffing plans; ensuring they follow all of the infection prevention and control advice and guidance; utilising the extensive training and other supports provided to them; and ensuring all staff are fully up-to-date on good infection prevention control practice.

I have referred your particular query to the HSE for direct reply.