Report on deaths in HSE-run nursing home delayed until next year

Investigators examining whistle-blower allegations of shortcomings at a Dublin nursing home during the first wave of Covid-19 have delayed the completion of its final report until next year.

he probe was launched after allegations were made in April 2020 by a whistleblower working in St Mary’s Hospital nursing home in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

It was one of the worst-hit nursing homes in the State, with 24 coronavirus-related deaths during the first phase of the pandemic.

It is understood the protected disclosure alleged shortcomings in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the nursing home and lack of testing for staff.

There were also issues around the isolation of patients at the start of the outbreak in late March 2020.

An independent investigation team, which was appointed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) over a year ago, has met with 28 witnesses and representatives from four families who lost loved ones to Covid-19 at the facility last year.

The investigation team has met on 47 occasions and was due conclude preliminary findings by September, with a final report expected in November.

However, it is understood that in the process of checking evidence, a number of witnesses have had to be recalled. This has caused delays, and the report will not be completed until January 2022.

St Mary’s is a HSE-run facility with 150 nursing home beds and a separate 48-bed step-down hospital.

There were 2,349 deaths among nursing home residents with Covid-19 between March 2020 and May 2021.

In almost 80pc of those cases, the residents who contracted the virus died in the nursing home.

Nursing home residents were one of the most vulnerable groups, with several facilities dealing with severe outbreaks where large numbers of residents died.

There were more than 16,200 confirmed Covid-19 cases among nursing home residents in the first 15 months of the pandemic.

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