Minister for Health welcomes new UCC initiative to protect Nursing Homes from Covid-19

Oct 21st, 2020

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly T.D. welcomes a new University College Cork postgraduate Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control designed to stop the spread of infection in nursing homes, amid increasing concerns around the growing community transmission of Covid-19.

UCC has launched a new postgraduate Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control to support the private nursing home sector. Funded through Skillnet Ireland, the programme was designed by Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet in collaboration with UCC’s School of Public Health. This new programme comes at a critical time for the private healthcare sector.

The recently published COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert panel report recommended that Infection control training should be mandatory for all grades of nursing home staff. The new programme, which has been welcomed by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly aims to support frontline healthcare professionals in the private nursing home sector with the expertise to challenge, lead and implement progressive infection prevention and control strategies.

The aim of the Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control is to equip graduates with the knowledge to support them in the coordination and management of infection prevention and control services in the clinical setting.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D. said:
“I welcome this new Postgraduate Certificate from UCC in Infection Prevention and Control for the Nursing Home Sector. COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the centrality of strong infection prevention and control measures to protect those most vulnerable in our society to infectious diseases. Building the infection prevention and control capability and skill sets of those staff providing care in nursing homes is essential as recommended by the recent report of the COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel.”


This postgraduate Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control has been developed in close collaboration with industry through Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet and a team at University College Cork (UCC) led by Dr Maura Smiddy, School of Public Health. The programme uniquely focuses on management, quality management and leadership with teaching delivered across a number of facilities including the School of Public Health, the School of Microbiology and Cork University Business School. The collaborative team at UCC includes Dr Smiddy, School of Public Health, Dr David Clarke, School of Microbiology UCC, Dr Ciara Heavin, Cork University Business School and Carmel Kelly, Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet.


Professor Ivan Perry, Head of the School of Public Health added,
“At UCC we are conscious of the need for the University sector to support the Health Service Executive and other sectors in responding to the pandemic. We have seen the need for healthcare professionals to be knowledgeable in infection prevention and control theory and application and the new programme will help address this need. The School of Public Health looks forward to working with Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet to offer this online Postgraduate Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control to the nursing home sector.”


Dave Flynn, Executive Director Skillnet Ireland said,
“Skillnet Ireland proudly supports this highly relevant and timely programme from Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet and UCC’s School of Public Health. The pandemic has presented many challenges across multiple sectors, particularly in the private nursing home sector and this programme is a powerful and welcome example of collaboration between industry and higher education. This specialised online programme will upskill nursing home professionals nationwide in the area of Infection Prevention and Control key so they can safeguard and protect those in their care while we continue to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.”


Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO commented:
“The private and voluntary nursing home sector remains under immense pressure and are facing into a Winter that will likely prove the most challenging ever encountered. We welcome this postgraduate Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control programme which will provide vital knowledge and support to our nursing homes and staff as we continue to live with COVID-19 and do all we can to protect residents in our nursing homes. Continuous training and upskilling is a hallmark within our nursing homes to increasingly drive care standards for residents. The development of this new programme within the speciality of infection prevention control is welcome.”


The course commenced on the 28th of September with forty-seven students participating, representing twenty counties from all provinces. To facilitate busy professionals working within current social distancing restrictions the course is facilitated completely online.

Visit the Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet website to find out more.

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