SIPTU representatives have today (Wednesday, 19th August) called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel if the private sector is to continue to play a role in the delivery of elder care. SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, John King, said: “SIPTU representatives have long campaigned for better care for all patients and better jobs for all workers in our health service. The recommendations contained in this report must be immediately actioned by the Department of Health and the HSE as they provide a way of ensuring a better outcome for patients and the health workers who provide and deliver these essential services. “SIPTU representatives made a detailed submission and contribution to the Expert Panel and it is welcome that many of our recommendations are evident in the final report. The recommendations clearly vindicate our union’s longstanding position on the need for high quality training, education and continuing professional development for all nursing home workers. “The reality is, Covid-19 has brutally exposed many of the shortcomings within the private nursing home sector. We believe the Department of Health and the HSE must now move to provide the necessary resources and capacity to make sure the provision of health care for our older people is improved to the appropriate level.” He added: “SIPTU is now calling for a full review into the pay and conditions of workers in the sector. This review must include trade unions as key stakeholders, and as the representative voice of workers in the sector. Our members believe there cannot be two standards of provision of health care in Ireland. We are calling for the HSE to be charged with the primary responsibility for setting the standards and delivering the training to all nursing home workers.”