Minister must address massive backlogs in home help supports – Brendan Smith

– HSE well behind target for first quarter of the year –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says home support services are struggling to cope with the demand being placed on them and he’s expressed concern about the fact that HSE targets are now regularly being missed.

Latest figures reveal that the HSE CHO1 region, which covers Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal, was almost 70,000 home support hours behind target in the first quarter of the year.

Deputy Brendan Smith 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 the CHO1 region for the first three months of the year was 445,391, yet only 384,463 were provided during that time.  That’s a shortfall of over 13% in the space of three months.

“There are hundreds of families across these 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.

“There needs to be a significant increase in home supports so that older people can continue living in their own homes.  In that context, these figures are particularly worrying.  There are over 300 people waiting for home support hours, and that’s on top of the already long backlogs in the system.

Significant increases in home supports are required if we want to enable older people to continue living in their own homes. While some progress has been made it is clear that more needs to be done. As the HSE acknowledges, demand continues to grow and waiting lists for services have become a feature.

“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”.