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Thursday 21 September 2017

Move to restore transport keeps woman out of nursing home

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A HSE U-turn has allowed a physically disabled woman to remain living at home with her parents.

Siobhan Powell (29) had faced the prospect of being forced to live in a nursing home after her special transport scheme was axed.

Her family had slated the HSE decision as "idiot economics" given that the nursing home costs would be vastly greater than the money saved on the transport scheme.

Now, Siobhan's transport has been restored to five days a week, allowing her to remain at home.

Siobhan, who is physically and intellectually disabled, had been cared for at her Fethard-on-Sea home in Wexford for three decades by her devoted parents, Johanne and Alan.

But they had no option but to place Siobhan in a nursing home if a special transport scheme that brings her each day to an education centre outside New Ross was cut.

Johanne said that highlighting Siobhan's plight in the Irish Independent had been crucial to restoring her transport entitlements.

"After four months of fighting to highlight Siobhan's case, and thanks to the media coverage, the pressure has worked. We are back to five-days-a-week transport," she said.

Two other families faced the same plight as the Powells as the HSE moved to axe special transport scheme costs.

Three Wexford families – the Powells, Murphys and Dunphys – were warned they must fund transport two days a week for their disabled adult children to special education centres in Wexford town and New Ross.

The HSE, in a letter seen by the Irish Independent, warned the cutbacks to the transport provisions were unavoidable.

"The rural bus service, South-west Wexford CDP, is no longer in a position to contribute towards the cost of the day-service transport as it does not meet their criteria.

"Unfortunately, Wexford local health office disability services are not in a position to fund the deficit," the letter said.

The Powells had warned that, without help, they could not continue to care full-time for Siobhan at home.

"All we want is a little support from the HSE and the Government," Johanne said.

Irish Independent

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