Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has called on the Health Minister and the HSE to show more compassion in the allocation of home help hours.
Despite the fact that home help hours across the two counties have increased over the last number of years, they’re still well down on the 2010 figures. In fact, the number of hours available to people in Cavan and Monaghan in 2016 were more than 34% lower than the 2010 stats. In addition to this, people are waiting for months to be approved for the scheme.
Deputy Smyth explained, “I am seriously worried that people, and older people in particular are being left without essential services because they are on a long waiting list for the home help scheme. Only last week I had an 86 year old woman contact me – she had applied for home help for her 93 year old husband in January but was still waiting for approval in August. This is an unacceptable amount of time for an elderly couple to be waiting.
“Home help hours allow people to stay in their own homes, but they also alleviate the pressure on the acute hospital system. I am shocked that despite the increased demand for the service and repeated promises to increase funding for home care packages, the increases in home help hours across Cavan and Monaghan have been minimal.
“It’s widely recognised that older people who stay in their own homes supported by their home helps and their families have better outcomes. I am very worried that hundreds of older people across Cavan and Monaghan are losing out on essential care because the Government is not allocating enough hours to cope with demand.
“The Programme for Government commits to increasing home help hours, but the first HSE Service plan under this Government has completely ignored this.
“I am disappointed by Minister Harris’ failure to direct the HSE to strategically invest more in this important area of Social Care despite an increased overall budget and the existing pressure on an overstretched system,” concluded Deputy Smyth.