THE Health Service Executive was forced to withdraw a letter telling nurses to ration pads used by elderly people with bowel and bladder problems, writes Eilish O'Regan.
The HSE in the south east had written to public health nurses, saying that medical card holders in nursing homes were no longer entitled to more than three incontinence pads daily.
If the residents in the Carlow and Kilkenny area wanted more, they would have to pay for them from this month onwards, it said.
The absorbent pads are crucial for many older people to allow them stay dry. Damp pads can leave the skin sore.
The cutback drew outrage from Age Action Ireland and Nursing Homes Ireland, who said it was contrary to what people were entitled to under the Fair Deal support scheme.
A spokesman for the HSE yesterday apologised for the letter and announced that there would be no change to the supply of the pads.