Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has expressed concern about figures he has obtained showing that Offaly is suffering from a significant under provision of home help hours.
There has been a 27.1% cut in hours in 2017 as compared to 2016, according to the Offaly deputy. There were 56,740 home help hours provided to the Laois/Offaly area between January and February 2016, but this figure has fallen to 41,357 for the same period of time in 2017.
“I have been contacted by a number of people in recent weeks who have raised concerns about the availability of home help hours in Offaly. Fianna Fáil raised this issue with the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the latest information which I have received from the HSE is deeply disturbing. It shows that the Laois/Offaly area has experienced a 27% fall in home help hours in 2017 as compared to 2016. This is the largest drop in the entire country," Cowen explained.
“It’s a well-known fact that Ireland has an ageing population with more people needing access to the home care package. 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 Offaly," he added.
“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 have eroded supports for older people and people with disabilities. 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. We all know someone in our local community that could do with additional assistance. This damaging cutback needs to be reversed immediately,” concluded Deputy Cowen.
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