Government criticised over Fair Deal crisis
Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has sharply criticised and expressed “deep concern” at the government’s mishandling of the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme.
Mr Adams was speaking today during Leaders Questions today where he challenged the Taoiseach on the serious “failings in the management by the HSE of the Fair deal Nursing Home Support Scheme”.
Mr. Adams said:
“Last week older people and their families were alarmed when it was suddenly announced by the Minister that he understood that the funding for the ‘Fair Deal’ nursing home care scheme was running out.
“It was reported that, less than half way through the year, the allocation for 2011 was already gone or nearly gone and that the HSE had suspended the approval of new applicants for the scheme.
“This was hugely upsetting news, with Age Action saying they were inundated by distraught callers, many in tears, made more distressful because the Minister didn’t appear to know what was happening.
“Since then the Health Minister has said that new applications will be dealt with – which is welcome – and that the problem was that the HSE used the €100 million of the money allocated for Fair Deal for other purposes. He said this was due to ‘confused messaging’.
“For their part the HSE said that the total budget available to it for long term residential care had always and would continue to be used exclusively for the care of older people resident in nursing homes.
“The HSE also said it is seeking clarity about the Minister’s remarks and there are reports that it has not started the processing of new applicants.
“So, there is a very confused picture.
“In addition, if the €100m intended for Fair Deal has been spent already where will the Minister make up this huge sum of money? Where will these new cuts fall within the Health Service? “
The Louth and East Meath TD also warned that “the growing waiting list within our hospitals is likely to get worse as more and more elderly people who should be in nursing homes remain in hospital.”
Mr. Adams also raised the absence of appropriate funding for home care packages which would allow many elderly people to stay in their own homes.