Dramatic reduction in home help hours in Cavan & Monaghan – Smith

– Hours across the two counties almost halved in 5 year period –

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has obtained new figures which show that Cavan and Monaghan are suffering significant under provision of home help hours. There has been a 43% cut in hours been 2010 and 2015. Since 2010, home help hours in Cavan and Monaghan have fallen from 548,094 to 313,000 – that means hours have almost been cut in half. Incredibly, the fall in Cavan and Monaghan since 2010 accounts for almost a fifth of the nationwide reduction in home help hours.

The cuts to home help hours for older people are another example of the Government’s failure to keep the promises it made in order to get itself elected. Fine Gael/Labour committed to increasing home help supports year on year. What has happened is the complete opposite. These harsh cuts result in many older people finding it increasingly difficult to stay living in their own homes. The figures were provided to the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher, T.D., at a recent Oireachtas Health Committee.

To add insult to injury, the figures show that the HSE won’t even meet its 2015 target of providing 335,000 home help hours. The projection now is that 313,000 will be delivered, 22,000 fewer than originally planned.

Deputy Smith commented, “It’s a well-known fact that Ireland has an ageing population with more people needing access to home care packages. The scheme is of vital importance as it allows people to stay in the comfort in their own home while receiving adequate care. However the figures I have obtained show that the HSE is missing its target when it comes to the provision of home help hours in Cavan and Monaghan.

“This under performance is worrying and the Government must ensure that this trend does not continue. It is unacceptable that allocated hours are not being used despite the increase in older people and people with disabilities who need assistance at home.

“Fine Gael and Labour have eroded supports for older people and people with disabilities over the past four years. The respite care grant was cut, care units have been forced to turn away patients due to staff shortages and payments such as the fuel allowance have been reduced. The under provision of home help hours is just another example of the Government not doing enough to ensure that people who need help in the home get the maximum level of assistance on offer.

“The HSE needs to do more to ensure that under-performance in the provision of home help hours does not continue. There are many older people and people with disabilities in Cavan and Monaghan who could do with more assistance under the Home Care Package. We all know someone in our local community that could do with additional assistance.

“Given the range of cuts targeting people with disabilities and their carers it is imperative that the full provision of Home Help Hours for Cavan and Monaghan is used in full and that indeed much needed additional hours are provided.”