The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is calling for an independent probe into why “so many” healthcare staff in Ireland are contracting Covid-19.
The Irish Times reports that the INMO has raised concerns about a “sharp increase” in hospital-acquired infections in a submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Health.
At a meeting of the committee on Tuesday, TDs and Senators will hear from the INMO and doctors on protection and support for Covid-19 frontline healthcare workers.
The INMO is set to tell the politicians that Covid-19 cases are continuing to rise among healthcare workers in a situation that “threatens healthcare services’s ability to provide essential care”.
According to the group, there were 24,730 detected cases of Covid-19 among healthcare workers as of February 2nd.
The INMO said that antibody studies conducted in several Irish hospitals “clearly show that this is a conservative figure, and the number of infections was higher”.
Lack of routine testing
In its submission, the INMO said “the lack of routine testing in acute hospitals has been a major failure on the part of the HSE and must be addressed”.
It said that in the last two weeks, the HSE conducted serial PCR testing in “only three acute hospitals”.
The Irish Hospital Consultants (IHCA) is also expected to raise the issue of routine testing of healthcare workers on Tuesday.
At the meeting, the INMO will also criticise the Republic’s rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine, which it said began in a “haphazard manner” and was not focused on the locations or workplaces with the highest infection rates.