Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD says he’s alarmed at escalating waiting lists for long term nursing home care under the Fair Deal scheme. There are now over 2,000 older people languishing on waiting lists for up to four months because of HSE funding delays.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “The situation with the Fair Deal scheme has deteriorated dramatically over the last three months. Since July, not only have the waiting times have increased, the number of older people on waiting lists has jumped from 1,465 to 2,007. These delays are putting many older people and their families in an extremely difficult financial situation as they are expected to fork out thousands of euros to pay for their care while waiting on the HSE to release funding.
“The Fair Deal scheme was designed to allow older people contribute to the cost of their nursing home care, however the excessive delays in the system are forcing them to cover the full cost of their care for months on end, causing additional stress and placing an unwarranted and unnecessary financial burden on them and their families. These are people who are entitled to access to care under the Fair Deal scheme, but are being penalised because of funding shortfalls.
“The 2014 HSE Service Plan diverted €23m from the Fair Deal budget and into community and home based care packages. This has left a considerable gap between those who will benefit from those initiatives and those who are waiting for a nursing home bed. These people are now trapped on waiting lists for months, while being expected to pay for a service that they cannot afford.
“This is another example of the detrimental impact that this year’s flawed and dishonest health budget is having on vulnerable people. Once again, the elderly and those in need of nursing home care have been targeted by these cruel cuts and changes. Minister Varadkar must ensure that a realistic health budget is brought forward for 2015 so that this issue can be urgently addressed”.