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Dealgan House expert review will be published next week, Minister says

Dealgan House.
A view of Dealgan House, Dundalk.

The Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed the expert review into Dealgan House nursing home in Dundalk will be published next week. 23 people died at the nursing home earlier this year, amidst an outbreak of Covid-19 at the facility.

The Minister was responding to a question posed by Labour’s Ged Nash in Dáil Éireann on Friday afternoon. Minister Donnelly had already informed An Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Wednesday that the expert review on Covid-19 in nursing homes would be on the Taoiseach’s desk next week.

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The Taoiseach said; “With the publication of that, we should liaise with all parties to work out the next steps on that.” That came on the back of the HIQA report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing homes in Ireland. That report said that the continued use of multi-occupancy rooms and outmoded premises in some nursing homes (due to end at the end of 2021) undoubtedly created a situation where the spread of infection was difficult to contain.’

The report suggested it would be necessary to review the levels of occupancy in nursing homes going forward to prevent any future spread of disease.

Gaps were also found in the clinical governance arrangements for private and statutory nursing homes. ‘For many, the only form of clinical oversight is provided by general practitioners, and this is simply insufficient for many
centres given their size and the complex needs of residents,’ the report read.

It also said that nursing homes should review and enhance staff skills and skill-mix while concluding that the regulations governing nursing homes also need to be strengthened, something HIQA had previously called for.

Last week, Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has reiterated calls for a full, public inquiry to be held into the deaths of 22 people from Covid-19 at the Dealgan House nursing home in Dundalk – something family members of some of those residents at Dealgan House who died during the outbreak of the coronavirus are also demanding.

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