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Tag Archives: Dr Michael Harty

Covid outbreaks in a quarter of Clare nursing homes

OUTBREAKS of Covid-19 have been confirmed in a quarter of nursing homes in Clare, The Champion has learned. News of clusters in four out of the county’s 16 homes has prompted renewed calls for greater medical supervision of these facilities. There were a total of 13 nursing home clusters in the Midwest area covering Limerick, Clare and North Tippeary, according to figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) up to May 24. Data released by the Health Service Executive (HSE) now indicate that Clare accounts for just under one-third of these. Reacting to the figures, Deputy Michael McNamara, who is Chair of the Covid-19 Dáil Committee, has called on the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to provide it with details of the homes it identified, at the outset of the pandemic, as being at particular risk. At Tuesday’s committee hearing, Mary Dunnion of HIQA said a list had been sent to the HSE in February or March. “These, …

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Dr Harty believes nursing home visiting restrictions must remain for now

CLARE GP and former Dáil deputy, Dr Michael Harty has said the while the ongoing ban on visitors to nursing homes was “a dilemma”, the time was not yet right to lift restrictions. The Kilmihil-based GP said that, despite a call from the nursing homes regulator to look at allowing visits, the overriding concern had to be keeping Covid-19 out. Earlier this week, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) called on health officials to examine ways of easing restrictions, over concern for the welfare of residents. “For elderly people, isolation from family and visitors is very restrictive,” Dr Harty said. “But, we must balance the dilemma that poses with keeping the virus out. Given the devastating impact that Coronavirus can have, the balance probably comes down in favour of the restrictions.” Noting that some nursing homes were facilitating families to see residents at their bedroom windows, or by video call, Dr Harty said that these were the preferred option …

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Concerns grow over health impact of Covid restrictions

CALLS for the fast-tracking of medical procedures, deferred because of Covid-19, are gathering momentum, as a leading Clare cancer campaigner described the situation as “incredibly concerning”. Quin resident John Wall, who has terminal prostate cancer, said the postponing of elective procedures, as well as the suspension of the national breast and cervical cancer screening programmes, needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. “The government nationalised public hospitals, in good faith, because of the potential overflow that was envisaged because of a potential peak in Coronavirus,” he said. “Thankfully, that surge hasn’t materialised. However, we now find ourselves in the position that the vast majority of public beds are lying empty, elective procedures have been cancelled. We’re reopening the country, but we have no definitive plan yet to move forward on this. Ultimately, we all want universal healthcare. I pay for private health insurance, I would prefer not [to have] to. I would prefer to place my faith in …

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more state support sought for nursing homes

Concern about the availability of personal protective equipment for nursing homes in Clare has been expressed by Dr Michael Harty. Dr Harty said some nursing homes felt abandoned as they had instituted strict visitor restrictions on March 6 even before the lockdown. He understands most of the nursing homes in Clare are free from Covid-19 following the provision of very effective protection measures to ensure residents are safe. “One nursing home told me they spend €10,000 purchasing their own PPE because they weren’t able to get a sufficient supply from the HSE. He recalled there was an expectation there would be a huge surge in the number of people requiring hospital treatment with a substantial number requiring admission to intensive care who may need ventilation. “The emphasis was placed on that aspect of care from the beginning. The social distancing and lockdown measures that have been introduced has made a huge difference to the numbers of people requiring hospitalisation and …

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disparity in Fair Deal funding for nursing homes

THE glaring disparity between public subvention provided to public and private nursing homes came under the spotlight this week as some residential care facilities request more personal protective equipment (PPE) to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic over the coming weeks. In a week when a local lobby group issued a public appeal for people to donate PPE, a huge gap has emerged in terms of state funding provided to different local nursing home operators. According to figures obtained by the Clare Champion, some public nursing homed are getting almost twice as much public subvention under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Fair Deal) compared with their private counterparts. Under the NHSS, the cost of care in Clare’s public nursing homes is €1,607 in St Joseph’s Community Hospital, Ennis; €1,650 in Raheen Community Nursing Unit; Ennistymon Community Unit €1,481 and Regina House Community Nursing Unit, Kilrush, €1,422. This compared to €830 for a single or shared room in St Dominic Savio Nursing …

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Dr Harty believes Covid-19 is like a “pneumonic plague”

Dr Michael Harty believes Covid-19 should be categorised as a “pneumonic plague” because it is a deadly virus that people have no immunity against, attacks lungs and other vital organs and in some cases leads to deaths. The former Clare Independent Deputy has compared to current pandemic to the Spanish Flu of 1918 as it has such a destructive impact on peoples’ health. “People of all ages have died from Covid-19. There is no age group that is immune from it,” he said. His comparison comes after official confirmation the number of Covid-19 cases in Clare increased from 60 to 65 from Monday to Wednesday this week. The Kilmihil-based GP expressed concern about the dramatic increase in mortality from the virus from the mid twenties to 36 on Tuesday. He believes that Ireland is about twelve days behind Italy and in twelve days’ time the country could reach the peak experienced by the Italians a week ago. Having analysed the …

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Appeal for holidaymakers to stay away from resorts

  AN emotional appeal has been made by a number of community leaders for those intending to travel to Clare holiday homes for Easter to cancel their plans. Despite the signing into law of stringent new Garda powers to enforce the Covid-19 lock-down, concerns remain that many have flocked to the West in recent days. The Director of Nursing at St Theresa’s Nursing Home in Kilrush told The Champion that the increase in visitors has been noticeable, and said the situation is a great risk to aging communities are already living in fear. “The risk they are bringing is not just to us in the Nursing Home and protection agencies but also to the many ageing communities in West Clare,” Yvonne Moroney said. “This is the same area they love to visit year after year, but it will not be the same if the infection was to catch on in our small communities. Many people are worried about what people …

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Dr Harty appeals for support on Covid-19 restrictions

EFFORTS must continue to reduce the incidence of Covid-19 to ensure that in excess of 1,200 people don’t die from this disease in Ireland in three weeks’ time, a local doctor has warned. Dr Michael Harty has appealed to people to stay at home, the elderly to “cocoon” and others to self-isolate for 14 days if they have any symptoms to try and reduce the worrying rising death rate in the country. Having tracked the Covid-19 figures in different countries, he said the death rate in Ireland is 15 people per million compared to 207 per million in Italy. The Kilmihil-based GP expressed concern about the increase in the number of patients requiring ventilation from 77 on Tuesday to 107 on Wednesday and this doesn’t include another 37 in ICU. If a large number of people get Covid-19 around the same period, he warned ICU will be overwhelmed very quickly despite of extensive efforts to double capacity in the public …

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