The majority of deaths from Covid 19 have taken place, over 1,000, in nursing homes. it’s not just here also, but a trend across Europe. It’s not just the UK as you would expect, but in places like Sweden with its reputation for good public services.The main factor across the board is privatisation of the sector. There are big profits to be made, which is why multi-national companies have made big investments in the sector.
The key to making profits is to keep costs down. Low pay, under staffing, lack of training and poor clinical management was the result.
The other key factor was the effect of austerity on public health services. A public health service in permanent crisis, due to decades of deliberate under funding was in no shape to deal with a pandemic. The big fear of the HSE, dept of health and the government was an overwhelming of the service through mass infections.
This was the reason for the lock down, to ‘flatten the curve’ in the general population. That’s why NPHET, the expert advisory group to the government did not discuss nursing homes until its 12th meeting. They were left to fend for themselves with disastrous results.
The lesson is, austerity kills, and so does the profit motive in health care.