Covid-19 nursing home expert panel set to be established

Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced that a Covid-19 nursing home expert panel will be established. 

The Minister told the Dáil that it would ensure the best safe guards are in place to protect people living in nursing homes.

The new panel has been drawn up in the wake of the number of deaths in nursing homes nationwide, with Dealgan House in Dundalk one of the worst impacted with 22 residents there dying from the disease in April.

Minister Harris said the new group will consist of four members including a public health expert, a geriatrician, a senior nurse and a public interest representative. 

The Minister said he would expect the group to do its work by the end of June. 

He added that it is critical to examine how things have evolved in nursing homes and consider other international experience. 

News of the new panel was welcomed by local TD Fergus O’Dowd who continues to push for an investigation into how the virus was able to spread in Dealgan House.

He said: “The Minister also confirmed to me he will await the outcome of the HIQA inspection on the Dealgan Nursing home before deciding on the next steps.

“Families and friends who have lost loved ones deserve to have all the facts laid before them in terms of how their loved one contracted Coronavirus and the subsequent care they were provided with from a clinical and non/clinical perspective.

“The HIQA inspection must give families this clarity.”