Tuesday 15 October 2019

Only people who are terminally ill likely to get home help support – Dáil told

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John Downing

John Downing

OVER 6,000 people – many of them stuck in hospital while well enough to go home – are now waiting for home help support, Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has said.

Mr Calleary said that in many cases families must show their loved one is terminally ill before they can get an allocation of home help hours.

The Fianna Fáil deputy leader told the Dáil the problem was compounding acute hospital congestion. People who are well enough to go home – if they got some home help – remain in hospital at continued risk to their own health.

The Mayo Fianna Fáil TD said that the Taoiseach and the junior minister responsible, Jim Daly, had given various accounts of the situation stressing the large number of help hours available.

“But their answers are vastly different from our experience as constituency TDs on the ground,” Mr Calleary said.

Replying for the Government, Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, said there were pressures in relation to discharges from acute hospitals and that people were awaiting home care support.

But Mr Coveney said that 7.52 million hours of home help support were to be provided this year and the allocation was just 2pc behind targets. He said the support system to encourage hospital discharges would continue.

“There is clearly work to be done in that area,” Mr Coveney said.

Replying to Sinn Féin health spokeswoman, Louise O’Reilly, Mr Coveney insisted that the health services were continuing to increase staff numbers – including extra pyschiatric nurses. Ms O’Reilly had spoken in support of Psychiatric Nurses Association who have declared an overtime ban due to staff shortages.

The Sinn Féin TD accused the Tánaiste of “describing the problem” - not addressing it. But Mr Coveney urged the nurses to use the industrial relations system to deal with the issue.

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