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Nursing Home Support Bill falls short of what is required – Ó Caoláin

9 October, 2008

Commenting on the publication of the Nursing Home Support Scheme Bill, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

"The publication of this Bill, the much promised 'Fair Deal' for older people, is long overdue. The delay has caused great concern to older people and their families and left many thousands of people in doubt about how nursing home care will be provided and paid for.

"The Bill presents a complex scheme involving care needs assessments and means testing. Much of the detail and the full implications will have to be teased out during the passage of the Bill.

"One thing is certain. This Bill falls short of what is required for the care of older people. As the Bill is published older people are experiencing cuts in services such as the reduction in Home Help hours. These so-called 'cost-saving' measures, as well as causing hardship to individuals, represent a false economy as the cutting of services to older people in their homes will drive more of them into expensive nursing home care, to be subsidised by the State at far greater cost.

"Carer's Allowance at present is totally inadequate and this is another factor leading to older people entering nursing home care. The means test for Carer's Allowance should be abolished in order to provide greater support for older people in their own homes.

"The complex scheme set out in the legislation published today is no substitute for a comprehensive strategy for the care of older people including fully supported and resourced care in their homes, in the community and, where necessary, in nursing homes." ENDS

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