UNISON Northern Ireland


Today (18th April) UNISON is calling for an immediate programme of testing to be implemented for residents and staff across care homes. This follows the publication of data by NISRA indicating that 26% of deaths involving Covid-19 have occurred in care homes and hospices. UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

‘‘Following the release of this data it is becoming clearer that emergency action must be taken by the Northern Ireland Health service.

The latest figures across Europe indicate that up the 50% of all deaths from Covid-19 are in residential homes and nursing homes. The Republic of Ireland has now confirmed the alarming numbers of positive cases and the rising death rate in its care homes and has committed to testing all residents and staff over the next 10 days.

Similar action must be taken here. We are calling on the NI Executive and the Minister for Health in particular to activate the Joint Memorandum agreed between both Governments and to commence a parallel programme of testing. We do not underestimate the challenges this presents but a coordinated programme across the island has a greater chance of success against a virus that is sweeping through it.

We have a moral obligation to our population of older people to take all necessary steps to protect them. Their fundamental human rights must be upheld. The same holds true for all staff working to care for them. Patients and staff are risking their lives. Some are losing them. Delay is not an option.’’