With the rise in Covid 19 cases it is important to learn the lessons from the last peak and look after staff and vulnerable patients in nursing homes. It was therefore good to see Fermanagh and Omagh council passing a motion brought by Councillor Donal O Cofaigh for an independent public inquiry into care home deaths. The motion passed despite the opposition of Unionist councillors.
The motion referenced revelations around the Department of Health’s handling of Covid-19 in social care. Unfortunately, there is a lack of transparency from the Stormont administration about outbreaks in Northern Ireland. This needs to change so that health campaigners like Donal do not have to fight just to get answers on nursing home outbreaks.
Nursing home staff should join a union to help protect them from any health and safety breaches. It is time employers were made to ensure there is enough PPE to protect staff and patients. They must have a proper testing system in place.
We also need to move nursing homes out of the hands of private for-profit operators. Run as public services they would help provide better care for staff and patients.