Only a full, open and transparent public inquiry into how Northern Ireland care homes were managed during Covid 19 can provide the answers to the many questions raised by the roles of the Department of Health and the RQIA.
The call comes in the wake of the recent resignation of all nine non-executive members of the RQIA inspection body.
Care home inspections were scaled back during the pandemic and the resignation statement claimed the Department of Health had made a number of “critical decisions” with no input from the board of RQIA saying that no information was made available in advance to explain the rationale behind them.
By the end of last month 380 (53.1%) of the 716 local Covid-19 related deaths had occurred in care homes. A number of care homes had reported deaths in double figures.
Given the long-term erosion of health and social care services and the dangerous consequences of underfunding of older and vulnerable people’s services, it is imperative that all recent decisions are now subjected to full scrutiny.
However, the bigger picture requires a fundamental change in our society. Only a socialist state committed to improving and advancing the living conditions of workers and their families can provide a sustainable solution.