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Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has today slammed the Minister for Health for his failure to deal with the ongoing crisis in older person’s services
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“”In failing to properly fund home care services, the government is essentially telling older people that they simply do not care about their needs.”
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has today slammed the Minister for Health for his failure to deal with the ongoing crisis in older person’s services.
Figures obtained by Deputy Shortall from the HSE show that in spite of the promises for increased funding, the number of older people on waiting lists for home support services has increased.
“When I first obtained these figures from the HSE more than six months ago I was appalled that over 6,100 vulnerable older people could be left waiting for such a basic service. The Minister has repeatedly promised action on this issue, but the updated figures that I have received show that the situation has dis-improved.
“In October 2018, the latest month we have figures for, a total of 6,324 older people across the country were waiting on home support services. That’s an increase of over 200 since last May, when there were 6,118 older people on the waiting lists.”
Deputy Shortall went on to question why the government continue to refuse to provide adequate funding for these services.
“The Minister announced that there would be funding for an additional 550 Home Care Packages as part of the HSE’s Winter Plan. When seen in the context of these figures, 550 does not even represent a tenth of existing demand. This paltry figure is an insult to older people when so many are waiting for services.”
Deputy Shortall concluded by pointing out the cost effectiveness of Home Care.
“Home care support is vital in enabling older people to live independently in their own communities, rather than having to go into a nursing home. Enabling older people to remain at home serves them best and is also a much more cost effective way for providing services. Many older people need only a minimum amount of day-to-day support that will allow them to live independently.
“In failing to properly fund these services the government is essentially telling older people that they simply do not care about their needs. The government needs to make good on its commitment to introduce a statutory entitlement to home-care as soon as possible, but in the meantime it should ensure the existing services are adequately funded.”
Figures obtained by Deputy Shortall from the HSE underscore the cost effectiveness of providing care at home for older people.
Deputy Shortall added:
“The average weekly cost for home-support services is €160. This is a fraction of the weekly cost of the average nursing home which is over €1,000 per week. Additionally, many older people remain in hospital longer than they need as no home supports are available. An acute hospital bed can cost the HSE approximately €6,000 per week and adds to waiting lists as people cannot return home. It is a complete failure of planning and a waste of resources.
“Yet again, this is an example of the health services operating a model of care which is unnecessarily expensive while community services are starved of essential funding.”
13th January 2019
Notes: Figures for May 2018 and October 2018
Home Support Waiting List
|CHO||May 2018||CHO||October 2018|
|CHO 1||355||CHO 1||565|
|CHO 2||1,525||CHO 2||1,205|
|CHO 3||472||CHO 3||321|
|CHO 4||207||CHO 4||166|
|CHO 5||557||CHO 5||708|
|CHO 6||279||CHO 6||212|
|CHO 7||973||CHO 7||1,090|
|CHO 8||799||CHO 8||490|
|CHO 9||951||CHO 9||1,567|