There are now more than 6,000 older people approved for homecare left languishing on waiting lists
The Government’s announcement of increased pay rates for those working in State-funded home support services has been described as deeply cynical by Social Democrats health spokesperson Róisín Shortall.
“The Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, indicated last year that she was in favour of implementing in full the recommendations of the cross-departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group to help address the serious shortage of homecare workers. This would include payment of the National Living Wage, at a minimum, in addition to agreed rates for time spent travelling.
“Those carrying out home support services on behalf of the HSE, including workers in the community, voluntary and private sectors, deserve nothing less as historically they have been paid very badly.
“However, while attempting to seek credit for finally introducing these measures, the Government has advised that there will be a significant cut in the targets set out in the National Service Plan for 2023. This will see the current provision of 23.9 million hours reduced to 22 million hours. It is a blatant case of the Government giving with one hand and taking with the other.
“This is at a time when we have a rapidly aging population and there are over 6,000 older people around the country approved for homecare but left languishing on waiting lists. It will simply drive more people into nursing homes, ultimately costing the State extra money. Difficulties in accessing healthcare at home also contribute to delayed patient discharges in our hospitals.
“The Government’s announcement must be seen for the political doublespeak that it is. It follows the unacceptable delay by the HSE in agreeing a new tender with homecare service providers, which was supposed to be in place in January but is only being finalised this month.
“The Minister for Health will not be thanked for cutting service hours and pitting homecare workers against older people.”
July 24, 2023