Nurses appeal online to stop health cuts

An anti-health cuts website set up by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is attracting huge online traffic from beleaguered health care workers who are campaigning to keep their jobs and make the health system work.

Highlighting the closure of 19 beds in Mayo General Hospital at the male surgical unit as part of a total closure to date of more than 1,300 hospital beds nationwide, contributors to the site have also written open letters to the Minister for Health stating their case on current issues while appealing for more people to join in and voice their concerns about the Irish health service.

In Belmullet District Hospital it notes that 10 care of the elderly beds have been closed, while in neighbouring Galway and Sligo counties some 100 beds have been lost in recent times. Heartfelt personal stories from working nurses and medical staff on the website also outline how devastating it is to be part of a system that is ‘falling apart at the seams’ and having their vocations tested to the limits. Issuing an appeal for people to share their story, their experience, their pain and opinions on what they think needs to be done, contributors are advised to get in touch at www.stophealthcuts.ie Also in nursing this week, Tadhg Daly, CEO, Nursing Homes Ireland representing private nursing homes, has advised applicants to the Nursing Home Support Scheme — better known as the Fair Deal — that the HSE has processed just 7,800 of approximately 12,800 applications received so far.

“This means it is taking up to six months for some of the applications to go through the system, so if you are considering applying to the Nursing Home Support Scheme, you should do so right away,” he advised.

The scheme replaces the existing Nursing Home Subvention Scheme, Mr Daly said, adding that individuals already in receipt of subvention may retain their existing arrangements or opt to transfer to the new scheme.

He noted that the Fair Deal scheme does not cover every expense that a person in a nursing home might incur such as “luxuries” like hairdressing and newspapers while a whole range of therapies, ophthalmic, dental, and social programmes are also excluded.

“Given that the Fair Deal takes 80 per cent of a person’s regular income as well as up to 15 per cent of the value of their home, this can have a huge impact on personal budgets, particularly where the nursing home resident’s only income is a pension — the amount left over for discretionary spending could be very small indeed,” concluded Mr Daly.

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