A whistleblower in a HSE nursing home where a significant number of patients have died from Covid-19 has made a protected disclosure over the handling of the outbreak at the facility.
The staff member, who works in a Dublin nursing home, has claimed concerns raised by healthcare workers about the welfare of residents fell on “deaf ears”.
A 35-page dossier containing serious allegations of failings at the home was made to Health Minister Simon Harris and the CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid, last night.
It was lodged under protected disclosure legislation which aims to protect people who raise concerns about possible wrongdoing in the workplace.
In a statement issued to Independent.ie through a solicitor, the whistleblower called on both to “immediately investigate shocking health and safety breaches that been ongoing for the last two months.”
The statement reads: “Due to delayed and in certain instances, non-action on the part of the HSE and management, I found myself compelled in good conscience to take action in order to protect patients and staff from what have become life-threatening conditions.
“I first raised concerns directly with management in mid-March. Worryingly, these concerns largely fell on deaf ears and notwithstanding similar concerns raised by fellow workers including staff who themselves subsequently tested positive and became seriously ill.”
The staff member, who is currently sick with Covid-19, claims there are “serious questions as to how the unit is being operated in the current crisis remain unanswered”.
The statement adds: “I fear patients and staff remain at risk and further deaths amongst the patient community are likely inevitable.
“All I can do at this stage is ask the Minister and Mr Reid for urgent transparency and accountability. I recognise it is very challenging for everyone and along with coping with my own illness I have had to personally bear a degree of alienation and disapproval from management for raising my concerns. “
In the protected disclosure submitted yesterday, the staff member called for a statutory enquiry or an independent external enquiry into what happened at the facility.
The statement regarding the disclosure added: “Unfortunately I can give many examples of breaches of health and safety in (name of facility removed) including inappropriate, stringent rationing of PPE; extremely poor quality PPE; the non-availability of PPE; inadequate and inconsistent visitor restrictions; the transfer and movement of patients to/from contaminated areas; the failure to identify symptomatic patients; delays and failures to isolate symptomatic patients and patients confirmed as COVID-19 positive; conflicts and poor communication between nursing and medical teams regarding patient management and care; no testing plan; and withholding information from the families of residents.”
The HSE and the Department of Health could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.