The HSE should look at hiring more carers for home help schemes rather than spending their budgets on hiring agencies, Cllr Declan McDonnell told the Regional Health Forum this week when he asked about the number of clients in Galway awaiting the service.
When he was told that there are currently 39 clients on the Waiting List in County Galway for Home Support, he disputed the figures saying that his indformation was that there were a lot more, and that the figures he was given should relate to the city, as he was an elected councillor for that area, and not the county.
Breda Crehan-Roche, Chief Officer, Community Healthcare West said that the figure may have related to the county alone and that she would look into getting the city figures for him.
She added that the local Home Support service is currently working on clearing this Waiting List.
“It is important to note that Community Healthcare West are challenged at times in sourcing Carers for Home Support clients in some rural areas across the region,” she added.
However, Cllr McDonnell said that the use of agencies to supply workers is not value for money.
“Would it be more cost effective to recruit more staff? The Galway city population is to increase by 40,000 by 2040. If the populations are growing, we should be using the money we are paying to agencies to recruit more staff and have them trained and ready to deal with the increased population. Instead of paying money out to agencies, we should be employing staff ourselves,” he said.
He also queried the amount of time that some people are being allocated.
“People tell me they get 30 minutes help morning and afternoon. That is the minimum they should be getting. People getting 30 minutes to get them dressed and to get their breakfast is not sufficient.
“This is not enough for people with broken limbs just out of hospital. This is not enough, especially for the very elderly,” he added.
He was told by Ms Crehan-Roche that an assessment of individual needs is carried out on each applicant and that times are allocated based on that.
She said that some support services for older people are provided either by directly employed staff or by voluntary and private providers who have formal tender arrangements with the HSE to deliver the services. The type of support provided includes personal care and, where appropriate, essential household duties relating to the client’s assessed needs.
“In relation to the use of private providers, the HSE has committed to the direct employment of Home Support staff to maximum effect for those with the appropriate skill set. Private providers also assist the HSE to provide care. The Tender for 2018 has been extended and will operate until 31st December 2021.
“Having access to Voluntary or Private Home Support Providers enables the HSE to provide a service in geographical areas where no HSE staff are based, therefore allowing flexibility within the service,” she added.