Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers has accused the Minister with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People of merging home care and home help figures to disguise the fact that the government has not followed through on its promise to increase home help hours.
Latest figures reveal that the HSE CHO2 region, which covers Mayo, Galway and Roscommon, was 45,000 home support hours behind target in the first quarter of the year.
Deputy Chambers commented, “I am very worried about the direction that our home support hours appear to be going. The target set down by the government for Mayo, Galway and Roscommon for the first three months of the year was 475,893 yet only 430,832 were provided during that time. That’s almost a 10% shortfall in the space of three months.
“There are hundreds of families across these three counties who are struggling to manage on the small reliefs they are being provided by the State. These families are caring for their loved ones in their own home and saving the government a considerable amount. Instead of being rewarded and respected, they are being denied the essential supports they need. It is deeply unfair.
“I raised this issue with Minister Jim Daly in the Dáil this week and he admitted that there are “capacity issues” relating to the availability of home care staff. However, while claiming that the HSE is “working towards” increasing capacity, he failed to outline any concrete measures that will bring that about. In fact his admission that “the current system is not fit for purpose” is another example of this government’s obsession with commentary rather than action.
“Despite pledges in the programme for Government and the Fine Gael manifesto, there has been no increase in home help provision. We cannot allow families languish in the most difficult circumstances, caring for their loved ones without the proper State supports they need and deserve”.