More than 14,000 home help hours in Galway were slashed over the last year - a 12 per cent cut - according to new figures which have been described as "deeply disturbing" by one Galway TD who has called for the cutbacks to be "reversed immediately".
Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte said County Galway is "suffering from significant under provision of home help hours". She was commenting on new figures, which she received from the HSE, showing there were 125,192 home help hours provided in the Galway region between January and February 2016, but this figure has fallen to 110,640 for the same period of time in 2017.
“I have been contacted by a number of people in recent weeks who have raised concerns about the availability of home help hours in Galway," said Dep Rabbitte. "Ireland has an ageing population with more people needing access to home care packages. The scheme is of vital importance as it allows people to stay in the comfort in their own home while receiving adequate care."
Dep Rabbitte was highly critical of the Government, saying it had "eroded supports" for older people and people with disabilities, citing the cut to the respite care grant, the reduction to the fuel allowance, and staff shortages at care units.
She is now calling on the HSE "to do more" to ensure the "under-performance" in the provision of home help hours does not continue. "There are many older people and people with disabilities in Galway who could do with more assistance under the Home Care Package," she said. "We all know someone in our local community that could do with additional assistance."