MEDIA Release – Tragic Deaths at Nazareth Home Donegal – Patient Safety First

he Irish Patients Association extends its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the six patients who sadly passed away recently from the apparent effects of influenza.

The first priorities are the patients at the home who are affected by this outbreak as well as any residents of other nursing homes where influenza may have infected them.

It is clear that many accountable agencies are involved in front line management and reviewing the events surrounding this outbreak, we would suggest that the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly T.D. appoints a serious incident review group to better manage this review with the inter health agencies.

We would urge all healthcare workers and visitors to nursing homes as well as hospitals to ensure that they are vaccinated against influenza; traditionally there has been a low uptake of vaccinations by health care workers. This vaccination is further protection to vulnerable patients particularly when they are in a weakened state. The low uptake needs to be addressed and understood to improve uptake.

Influenza vaccine uptake by Heath Care Workers

2005-2006 season estimated uptake was 20%

2009-2010  ”              ”              ”          ”      29%

2011-2012  ”              ”              ”          ”       14% ( incomplete data and provisional)

Finally we would call on the Minister to prioritise the setting up of a national vaccination register where all appropriate details can be logged about every person who is vaccinated. In times of emergency or public health concerns such a register will provide real time feedback, the only existing source of information is a  “not fit for purpose”  accounting system.