Independent TD, Denis Naughten has urged the Government to utilise as many retired doctors and other health staff as possible during the Covid-19 vaccine programme, rather than pulling existing health staff away from treating those with virus.
“We are now experiencing record numbers of Covid positive cases, which is putting huge pressure on all frontline healthcare workers both in our hospitals and in community healthcare, and the last thing we need is front line staff being taken away from this vital work,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Last month I called on Government to utilise retired healthcare staff, as well as the thousands of offers from people who stepped up to the ‘Be on call for Ireland’ request, but disappointingly it seems that to date this has not been acted upon.
“I previously exposed the fact that thousands of nurses and care staff who signed up for the ‘Be on call for Ireland’ campaign were not used by the HSE, while front line staff from our hospitals had to be called in at short notice to help with nursing home Covid outbreaks. This posed a risk of infection in our hospitals and the postponement of surgery for those on waiting lists.
“For some reason the HSE has failed to utilise retired staff, those who responded to the ‘Be on call for Ireland’ campaign and the Defence Forces capability until the very last moment and in this instance it seems that frontline public health staff will be pulled away from management of the upsurge in Covid infection unless the Government directs the HSE to take up offers of assistance to deliver this vital vaccination programme.
“As well as staff being needed to administer the vaccine, clearly there are also delays in securing consent from nursing home residents due to the fact that a paper-based system is being used.
“People’s lives will be put in jeopardy if Government fails to act decisively and ensure that front line staff are left to focus on their responsibilities to those with Covid,” concluded Deputy Naughten.