Fianna Fáil candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Cllr. Eamon Scanlon has expressed concern at the fact that almost 100 people across the two counties are waiting on a place on the Fair Deal scheme.  New figures released to Fianna Fáil through Parliamentary Questions reveal that there are 75 people waiting for approval and another 21 waiting for funding on the national placement list.

Cllr. Scanlon commented, “Despite promises by Minister Varadkar that funding would be made available for the Fair Deal scheme, problems with the system are still causing major backlogs across Sligo and Leitrim.  The waiting list crisis, which peaked last autumn, saw some of the sickest and most vulnerable older people stranded in hospitals or at home while they waited for suitable residential beds to become available.  This was a completely avoidable situation, solely brought about by the Government’s decision to take 700 beds out of the system.

“The Government, and specifically Minister Leo Varadkar, has been trying to back-peddle over the past six months to bring the scheme under control.  However, the number of people waiting for a place on Fair Deal in Sligo and Leitrim remains unacceptably high.  The Minister’s announcement of additional funding back in April was welcome, but it has failed to make any tangible inroads into the situation here in the North West.

“Fianna Fáil has emphasised the importance of community based care.  In our health policy, “Putting Patients and Services First”, the party has committed to the development of a national strategy for the long term care of our older people.  In the short term we want the 2016 HSE Service Plan to provide for an extra 800 residential places on top of what was announced in April.  And we want the funding to be paid from the time of approval.

“I’m concerned that we will be back in the eye of the storm later in the year, when the latest round of funding runs out.  We cannot continue to jump from crisis to crisis – we need a sustainable solution to reverse the severe cuts, which were brought in by this Government, so that older people across Sligo and Leitrim are not left waiting weeks and months for a place on this important scheme”.