Investment in home help must be allocated in appropriate manner

The money provided by Dáil Éireann for home help must be used to increase hours available to support older people in their homes, not spent on administration, Deputy Denis Naughten stressed this week.

“The fact is that we have seen a €140m increase in funding for home help since this Government took office but this has not been seen on the ground with a significant increase in home help hours.

“The decision by the HSE to suspend the allocation of home help hours to older people and their carers for the next five months, contradicts this and the all-party Oireachtas Health Committee report, Slainte Care, on the reform of the health service in Ireland,” the Deputy remarked.

Deputy Naughten noted that the relevant policies of both the Government and the HSE were no longer in tandem.

“We now have a situation where Government policy and Dáil Éireann are at complete variance with the policy actions by the HSE and we are told by the Taoiseach that Minister Daly is scrambling to gather the facts and is only set to meet with the HSE managers next week.

“The fact is that the HSE is completely unaccountable, making up its own policy and a stop must be put to this, the very first step being to reverse these cuts immediately.

“We have far greater demand for home help hours in Galway, Roscommon and Mayo than anywhere else in the country so any decision to restrict the allocation of home help hours will have a disproportionate impact on local families and older people.

“The fact is that this decision by the HSE will trap carers in their homes and leave them unable to access a break from the 24/7 care they provide. It will also lead to a situation where families will have no choice but to admit older people to long term nursing home care,” Deputy Naughten concluded.


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