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The CEO of the HSE Mr Paul Reid has said the Covid-19 crisis has shown “very significant changes” in relation to the models of care for older people are required.
Speaking to the special committee on Covid-19 response, Mr Reid said these changes require a “concerted effort across policy makers, regulators, providers and clinical experts” to achieve a safe and sustainable model of care into the future.
According to Mr Reid, significant areas for improvement include: Assess the overall governance arrangements for private nursing homes; further development of HSE support structures (covid response teams); and a funding model for long term care and alternatives to long-term care.
The committee had enquired in relation to the learning from the events of the last six months so as to inform how the Government and health service are prepared to address further outbreaks of Covid-19.
Mr Reid said he submitted a detailed paper to the committee which captures “the substantive ongoing level of engagement across the system between the HSE, HIQA, DOH and the private and voluntary nursing home representative group, Nursing Home Ireland (NHI)”.
Within this paper I have set out the different mandates of the HSE and HIQA in relation to this sector. However, we are united in the singular mandate of safeguarding the health and well being of older persons living in long-term residential care. Indeed, a significant feature of the response to this pandemic has been the extent of the cooperation between HIQA, as the regulator, and the HSE. The knowledge of the sector, acquired by HIQA over many years through their inspectorate has been used on an ongoing basis to inform the actions and supports provided by the HSE.
“The HSE area crisis management teams (ACMTs) which were formed with a specific purpose of implementing the covid response in turn set up covid response teams,” Mr Reid said in his opening address.
“These enable the management of outbreaks of this insidious disease with absolute equity across public, private and voluntary operated services. These teams of clinical specialists provided a range of advice and support throughout the period, including onsite assessments of resident’s needs. The HSE also had to provide additional staffing, not only to its own facilities but also to private providers.
“Public Health and other guidance was issued across a range of measures sometimes on a daily basis. A full nationwide PPE logistical distribution system was formulated and deployed to all providers within a very short timeframe and making, what was a scarce commodity both here and internationally, available in a fair and equitable way to support the demand in as far as possible.”