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'Blatant discrimination': Nursing Homes Ireland blast Harris saying PPE being 'rationed'

Simon Harris says the health service is doing "relatively well" when it comes to getting PPE for healthcare workers.

The health minister has been responding to reports that HSE supplies of masks, gowns and gloves to some nursing homes were being limited based on how many suspected and confirmed cases they had.

Nursing Homes Ireland says it amounts to "rationing".

The CEO of NHI has launched a scathing attack on the health minister, saying questioning his "commitment to his own claims of not wanting to leave anyone behind in this pandemic".

"Understandably, the State has leaned upon nursing homes in recent weeks to ensure older people are removed from acute hospital settings. Now it is excluding the costs entailed to encompass their care needs during Covid-19. This is blatant discrimination,” Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO said.

Nursing homes continue to be the neglected frontline in this pandemic.

"We continue not to be prioritised for resources and only receive attention when we cannot be ignored due to the scale of our crisis which is not of our making, cannot be managed by any sector on its own and was never visualised by anyone within existing funding for residents," he added.

"All nursing homes need PPE immediately to ensure that the virus is not introduced to the 70% of homes that are Covid-19-free. The memo is a complete contradiction to State pronouncements.

“We also require supplies of PPE for a family member to be with relative at end of life, the reality is that supplies for nursing homes are being rationed.”

Earlier, Simon Harris has said the country must “hone in further” on residential care facilities where Covid-19 continues to spread.

Staff and residents in all long-term residential care settings in the country are to be prioritised for testing in the coming 10 days, the health minister said, amid ongoing concern about infection clusters.

[ul][b]Useful information[/b] [li]The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here [/li] [li]Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;[/li] [li]GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.[/li] [li]ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024[/li] [/ul]