Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Dara Calleary has said that the revelation that the HSE needs an additional €320M in funding to cover projected expenditure on older people’s services must act as a wakeup call to invest in services for older people.
“There are already severe gaps in the provision of services to older people, and any funding deficits will further exacerbate the challenges that they face in maintaining their quality of life.
“Of all the services in the health system, services for older people are one of the easiest to predict future demand.
“It’s concerning that the HSE has not projected future demand more accurately, and worst of all, the Government has not seen fit to provide the necessary funding.
“Demand from older people and their families is clearly not being met by the HSE and the Government.
“Every TD is inundated with requests for help from the families of older people who simply cannot access home help hours, home care packages or a bed under the Fair Deal Scheme.
“When these services are not met, they put pressure on other parts of the health system. There are countless hospital beds being occupied by older people who, if home help and home care packages were provided, could be discharged.
“Last week’s figures from Census 2016 show that our population is getting older, and this isn’t going to change.
“Planning and providing the funding for an aging population must be a core priority for Minister Harris. The Government sticking its head in the sand, and hoping that the population will miraculously get younger, isn’t a feasible plan.
“Minister Harris must fight tooth and nail for the funding needed to provide these services.
“He will find an open door in Fianna Fáil to delivering these services, but it requires a commitment from the Government to stop sticking its head in the sand and grab the bull by the horns, and come forward with a long term plan for older people,” concluded Calleary.