Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People Mary Butler says the 2019 HSE Service Plan will not result in any significant improvement for older people.

“It is simply extraordinary that when we have an ageing population that the HSE should only be extending home support to 550 more people”, said Deputy Butler.

“Earlier this year the Health Service Capacity Review projected that demand for home care is set to increase by 120% by 2030. I don’t think that an increase of 1% in 2019 relative to the outturn in 2018 is in keeping with that.

“The fact is, demand for Home Support continues to grow and waiting lists for services have become a feature. Over 6,000 people are waiting for services, and with the sort of increase the HSE is planning for home care in 2019, I would not be surprised if the waiting list lengthened further.

“It is also disappointing that the number of home support hours to be provided from Intensive Home Care Packages (mainly for people with dementia) will drop by more than 35,000 hours (9%) in 2019 relative to 2018.

“Those who advocate for people with dementia will also feel let down by the lack of any specific commitment to increase the number of dementia advisers in the plan. The number of people with dementia is on a steep upward curve and more supports are urgently needed.

“Every day in Ireland 11 people are diagnosed with dementia, with 55,000 people currently living with this disease. With our aging population the importance of sufficient home care supports is vital. There are currently 6,200 people waiting for these supports and the announcement of an extra 550 packages is nowhere near sufficient.

“The HSE’s own capacity review made it clear what is required. It is unsatisfactory that the 2019 Service Plan is delivering so little to meet that requirement.”