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Domiciliary care must be delivered - Anderson

22 November, 2010 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle, Martina Anderson, has spoke of the pressing need to address the shortfall in funding of domiciliary care and to protect and enhance current provision in order to deal with the changing demographics of our population.

Speaking before a Sinn Féin motion in the Assembly today dealing with this matter Ms Anderson said:

“The domiciliary care sector is under growing pressure, a pressure that will undoubtedly get bigger as the demographic within the north of Ireland change, with a substantial increase in the numbers of people requiring these services.

“According to the census figures, there has been an increase in almost 30 percent in the number of over 65’s in the western trust area alone over the last decade. By 2017 that number is expected to rise by over 50 percent while the number of over 85’s is expected to increase by more than 80 percent.

“The Western Trust however face a major shortfall in the domiciliary care budget which is leading to severe difficulties in the service.

“This I am sure will be mirrored in each and every other area.

“It is clear that current provision is leading to a false economy.  It costs much more to keep someone in hospital, which is the inevitable result of a lack in domiciliary care than it does to pay for one hour home care through the day

“Evidence also suggests that reductions in the provision of social care can have a knock on effect of increasing demand for other health services, especially emergency care.

“Making the shift towards a greater focus on social care and prevention requires long-term political commitment and a fundamental shift in the way the health service works. Domiciliary care provisions must support the person with dignity and enable them to live their life independently and in the way that they choose.

“The stark fact is that the social care system is now effectively in crisis, with older people struggling trying to get home care package’s and those who are in receipt of services are having them withdrawn is unacceptable. This needs to be urgently addressed and an effective and realistic strategy needs to be forthcoming in order to provide the necessary reassurance for elderly members of our communities.”

Note to editor:

The motion reads:

That this Assembly notes the challenges posed by the changing demographics; and calls on the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to ensure that there is adequate investment in domiciliary care to meet the current and future needs of an ageing population.

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