Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler has said that the HSE is failing to meet its commitments to people living with dementia who need intensive support.

Deputy Butler was commenting after receiving reply from the HSE on the number of Intensive Home Care Packages that have been provided in 2016.

“By the end of October this year, only 69 were in receipt of an IHCP despite a previous Government commitment to have 130 packages available in 2016,” said Butler.

“However not only have they failed to meet the target so far in 2016, the truth is that the target for 2016 is 60 less than in 2015 when it was 190 packages.”

“In October 2015 there were 165 Intensive Home Care Packages being provided, yet so far in 2016, it has more than halved, year on year.”

“There is also a serious divide in terms of where these IHCPs are being made available. 12 counties have, at present, have not been selected for receipt of this service, and unless the HSE start to actively identify suitable prospective users, the numbers won’t improve.”

“These packages are of major benefit to people living with dementia, and their families who care for them.”

“Initially used as a mechanism to free up acute hospital beds by providing in-home long term care for those with chronic illnesses, they were then identified as being suitable for people with dementia.”

Funding was sourced from the HSE, the Department of Health and externally from Atlantic Philanthropies to fund the strategy and implement the recommendations, including these IHCPs.

“Clearly, the HSE are failing to identify suitable candidates for these packages, and this is leading to people with dementia missing out on this very important suite of services.”

“Since its establishment, only 138 people have been provided with an IHCP, nowhere near the capacity of the programme, and nowhere near the promise made the older people, and people with dementia,” added Butler.

“The various local health managers working with older people must actively work to increase the number of people accessing these packages.”

“The funding has been made available; it now requires implementation by the local health offices,” concluded Butler.