NI: Lawyers for families of care home residents calls for COVID-19 inquiry
Lawyers for a number of families with relatives in care homes across Northern Ireland have called for a statutory inquiry into the rate of coronavirus deaths in care homes.
Belfast firm KRW LAW LLP has written to Health Minister Robin Swann on behalf of families alarmed by alleged failures in terms of COVID-19 testing and inspections in care homes.
There were 232 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in care homes across Northern Ireland up to 1 May 2020, making up nearly half (45 per cent) of all COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland.
The law firm is seeking a judge-led statutory inquiry, supported by counsel, with powers to compel witnesses and evidence, unfettered by any political interference and with terms of reference drafted in consultation with families.
Kevin Winters, senior partner at KRW LAW LLP, said: “Given the vicious pace at which this virus spreads this request cannot come quickly enough.
“These residents are the most vulnerable of all in society yet instead of being prioritised for over sight they are downgraded because they are elderly and already life limited.
“A statutory inquiry would afford an opportunity for failures to be exposed, accountability to secured and reforms to be proposed.”