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Taoiseach showed insight that he didn't have as health minister

Tadhg Daly


Very difficult lessons must now be learned from the Covid-19 crisis, especially with regard to care of the elderly, writes Tadhg Daly

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Leo Varadkar. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Concluding his recent Covid-19 interview on The Late Late Show, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar signalled, finally, that there is a requirement to look at how we, as a society, care for our older people. His road to Damascus conversion has come with the Covid-19 crisis, as when Minister for Health five years ago he didn't travel this route.

For the past decade, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has advanced to successive health ministers, including Leo Varadkar, the requirement for Government to lead in establishing a Department of Health-led forum to plan for the care needs of our older population. Despite public backing by health and older people, ministers as well as stakeholders, the forum has never come to fruition.

Now its time has come; too slowly perhaps, but better late than never. Our view is stakeholders should be brought around the table to assess the health and social care needs presenting for present and future generations of older people. The expertise should inform policy and resourcing decisions surrounding care of the older person.