Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD has accused the Government of a total betrayal of its solemn commitment to provide more home help hours every year while it is in office.

Deputy Kelleher raised the matter during Order of Business in the Dáil today, highlighting the fact that almost 2 million home help hours have been lost over the past three years since Fine Gael and Labour came into office.

Speaking afterwards he commented, “The Programme for Government committed to additional funding each year for the care of older people, with funding to go towards the delivery of more home help. But instead of seeing a boost in home help hours we have seen a dramatic reduction in the support provided for the care of older people.

“The commitment on home helps has been broken very single year with almost 2 million hours lost from the end of 2010 to the end of last year. There were 11.68 million home help hours provided in 2010. In 2013, less than 9.74 million home help hours were delivered.

“This is a vital community service that enables people who otherwise might need to be cared for in long-term residential care to remain at home where appropriate. It is a critical support to older people that allows them to stay out of the acute hospital system and live with dignity in their own homes. Not only is it hugely beneficial for so many people, it also helps to ease the burden on acute hospitals that are struggling with overcrowding and growing waiting lists.

“Despite this, the Minister for Health James Reilly and his Fine Gael and Labour colleagues have consistently failed to honour their own commitments in relation to home helps:

  • The 2011 HSE Service Plan projected 11.98 million home help hours but only 11.2 million were delivered;
  • The first FG/Labour budget in December 2011 removed another 500,000 home help hours and the 2012 Service Plan projected 10.7 million home help hours but delivered 9.9 million hours;
  • 10.3 million home help hours were projected for 2013 but just 9.74 million hours were delivered.

“This Government has an appalling record with regard to its treatment of our older citizens and the shocking reduction in home help hours is yet another example of this.”