Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government this evening accused government of “allowing private companies profiteer from the needs of the elderly”.
Speaking during the debate on Sinn Féin’s Dáil motion on carers and home helps, Deputy Stanley said, “Minister for Older People, Kathleen Lynch, is cutting back on home help funding and making it difficult or impossible for people to stay in their own homes, while her government is threatening to close public nursing homes.
In turn these closures will force residents into expensive, private nursing homes at huge expense to taxpayers and families. But of course this government will never allow people’s needs get in the way of profiteering.
Home Helps are an efficient reliable front line service. The service provided by HSE costs between €12 to €15 per hour, while private service is up to €23 per hour.
The Minister for Health has taken an axe and in the name of cost cutting, budget balancing slashed the home helps in the HSE to 9,380. This government has continued, like their Fianna Fail predecessors, to cut front line services. Two million hours of home care have been cut over the past five years. Previous to this home help got 20 to 25 hours. Some have had their hours cut to single digits and the work is in 15 to 30 minutes blocks of time.
Ninety-five per cent of those over 65 live independently in their own home. The state must provide the small amount of services needed to keep people living in their old age in dignity in their own homes. But this government’s health care plan for Laois, Offaly and indeed the other 24 counties lies in taters along with their promises.” ends