New figures obtained by Fianna Fáil Dáil candidate for Louth / East Meath Emma Coffey have revealed that the number of home help hours available to older people in the County of Louth have been slashed by the Government.
In response to questions from Fianna Fáil, the HSE has confirmed that Louth has suffered a cutback of 43,038 hours to home help care hours since 2010. In 2010 263,038 home help hours were made available to older people but the HSE now says that just 220,000 hours will be delivered in 2015.
Emma commented, “I was shocked to learn of the extent of the cutbacks to the Home Care Package. We have seen a sustained and sneaky attack to supports for older people and people with disabilities over the past four years. However the figures that I have obtained are the clearest sign yet that Fine Gael and Labour are eroding core medical services for older people.
“Since coming to office this Government has overseen a cutback of over 1.2m home help hours across the country. We now have 43,038 fewer home help hours available to older people in Louth when compared to 2010. This is despite the fact that there is a growing demand for services to assist older people continue living in the comfort of their own home.
“The under provision of home help hours is just the latest example of the State not playing its part in ensuring that people who need help in the home get the services that they deserve.
“The Home Help Care Package is the best way forward to allow older people to continue living an active and fulfilling life. The availability of home help hours is a vital component of this package and it is disappointing to see Fine Gael and Labour continue targeting these supports for sustained cutbacks.
“I believe we should be putting more money into the provision of supports for older people. The withdrawal of home help hours is counter-productive. It means that many older people now have to attend hospital just to receive basic treatments that can be delivered in the comfort of their own home. This in turn is putting further pressure on our hospitals which are already chronically overcrowded.
“We should be facilitating older people to continue living active and fulfilling lives in the comfort of their own homes where they have a strong community network looking out for them. Cutting home help hours is not the way forward and with that in mind I will be campaigning for more investment in community based care services for older people.”