There should be an independent review into all deaths in nursing home settings during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an unpublished draft Oireachtas report.

A copy of report into the impact of Covid-19 seen by RTÉ News, said the lack of national clinical oversight of care for patients in the private nursing home sector is one of the biggest weaknesses exposed by Covid-19.

It said the Department of Health should urgently review clinical oversight and governance arrangements for private nursing homes.

The report also recommends the integration of private nursing homes into the wider framework of public health and social care.

It said that the role of the Health Information Quality Authority should be strengthened in enforcing regulation of centres for older people.

The committee said patients should not be placed in centres which have consistently not complied with HIQA's standards.

The report recommends that staffing structures in private nursing homes should be reviewed along with salary structures, terms and contracts in order to ensure appropriate resilience.


Read More:
Half of nursing homes with virus outbreaks inspected did not follow hygiene rules


The document said the Department of Health should involve key stakeholders from the private nursing home sector at an early stage in any crisis management planning as it relates to residents in their care.

It recommends that the private nursing home sector pool resources for emergency situations and to ensure a base-level of PPE and medical supplies, in order to ensure resilience for crisis situations.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show the number of deaths in nursing homes linked to the virus stands at 987.

There was criticism about how the pandemic was managed in nursing homes at the beginning of the crisis, with the Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team accused of being too slow to react to the crisis in homes.

Nursing Homes Ireland, HIQA and the Health Service Executive appeared before politicians at the committee to give their account of what happened.

HIQA told politicians that there is "no national clinical oversight of care being delivered to some of our most vulnerable citizens".

The health watchdog, which aims to improve health and social care, said the current model of residential care for older people has "no formal governance links with the Health Service Executive".