This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 4 July, 2020
Advertisement

'Something is going wrong on the frontlines': Union demands urgent inquiry into healthcare worker infection rates

7,943 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus so far.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation has called for an urgent inquiry into the infection rate of Covid-19 among healthcare workers. 

The union says it not satisfied with the level of detail available on healthcare worker infection and has repeatedly asked for the regular publication of statistics to better identify how the virus is being transmitted and to take steps to eliminate infection risk.

“Healthcare workers make up a third of Covid-19 cases in Ireland. This is an unacceptably high rate, indicating that something is going wrong on the frontlines. Other countries see far lower rates of infection,” said INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha. 

According to the latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight on the 27 May, 7,943 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus – accounting for 31.98% of all cases. 

In comparison, analysis from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates healthcare worker infection rates of 10% in China, 9% in Italy, and 20% in Spain. 

Previous figures released to the INMO in April show that 35% of infected healthcare workers are nurses.  

The union worries that if the trend continues into May, 1 in 10 Covid-19 cases in Ireland will be nurses.

In a letter to HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry, the INMO wrote: “We are not satisfied with the level of detail available to date and therefore we advise that at this stage, it is a matter of such concern that it warrants immediate independent scrutiny. We will now seek that the Minister for Health establishes such a review.”

Last night, the Department of Health confirmed a further six patients diagnosed with Covid-19 have died and there are 39 new cases of the disease in Ireland. 

Since the beginning of the outbreak, there have been 24,876 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 1,645 people have died.  

Culture of secrecy 

“To fix a problem, you need clear data. We have asked time and time again for the HSE to publish clear, detailed statistics on healthcare worker infection. This could tell us which services are worst-hit and where needs focused action,” Ní Sheaghdha said. 

We have not received a satisfactory response. The state is asking our members to put their lives at risk to defeat this virus. The very least they can do is provide clear information to allay fears and resolve problems.

“A culture of secrecy will only lead to more unnecessary infections.”

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

The INMO will be meeting with the Minister for Health next week, during which “we will seek an urgent, independent inquiry into healthcare worker infection rates”.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Adam Daly

Read next:

COMMENTS (82)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel