Fianna Fáil Councillor and General Election Candidate, Joe Flaherty, has said the Government is shooting itself in the foot by failing to provide adequate home care support hours.
Councillor Flaherty said the failure of Government to provide all of the additional 800,000 hours promised by the HSE service plan was heaping pressure on the acute hospital network and leading to record overcrowding.
The waiting list for home care support in the Longford-Westmeath area skyrocketed from 16 to 92 from February to October 2019 according to the HSE.
Councillor Flaherty said, “What I am hearing on the doors would make me question the figures outlined by the HSE. The sheer volume of people telling me about their hardship in securing the basic amount of home support hours for their loved one is huge.
“An increasing amount of people are taking on caring roles and family carers are propping up the health system saving the State €10bn a year. Everyone knows it costs less to look after a person at home than in a acute hospital setting so why aren’t the Government doing everything in their power to promote it?
“Today one in 10 people provides care for a loved one in the home. By 2030, as a result of our ageing population and the increasing number of people with a disability or chronic condition it’s predicted that one in five people will take on a caring role.
“Unless urgent action is taken to better support carers and address years of underspending on home care, respite and carer payments, families will be unwilling to take on a caring role and the pressures on our already overburdened health and social care system will significantly increase,” concluded Cllr Flaherty.