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Taoiseach challenged over lack of clarity on Fair Deal crisis

25 May, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has called for “clarity from government and an end to the confusion surrounding the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme”.

For the second day in a row the Sinn Féin President raised the crisis in the Fair Deal scheme and the distressing impact it is having on elderly citizens and their families during Leaders Questions.

Mr. Adams focussed on the fact that contrary to the governments assertions, the HSE has informed Sinn Féin that the central computer system used to process applications has been shut down by it since May 16th and that consequently no decisions are being taken in respect of approvals for places under the scheme.

The Sinn Féin leader said: “Instructions should be given today to the HSE to switch its computer system back on and to immediately begin processing the applications and approvals.”

Mr. Adams said:

“Yesterday when I asked the Taoiseach about the Fair Deal scheme he told me applications for approval under the Fair Deal scheme will continue to be processed and accepted. And I welcomed that.

“Last night the Minister of State Kathleen Lynch TD, in answer to a question from my colleague Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said that decisions to grant approval are subject to the availability of funding.

“However, the HSE is saying the opposite. The HSE has told Sinn Féin that approvals are not being given. Indeed the HSE told us that the computer system used to process Fair Deal applications has been shut down by them since May 16th.

“This flies in the face of what the Dáil was told yesterday and again this morning.

“Instead of clearing up the confusion that exists around the Fair Deal system the Taoiseach’s remarks yesterday and today, and his assertion that applications are being processed, when this is clearly not the case, have added significantly to that confusion.

“The contradictory positions from the HSE, and from the government exposes a degree of government mismanagement that is unacceptable and is causing great distress to many families.

“The reality is that today there are elderly people, many of them being cared for in difficult circumstances by their families, who are being prevented from taking up vacant nursing home places. There are people who at the moment cannot get final approval.

“The failure of the state to process and approve their applications means that anyone promised a bed could well lose that place if someone who can afford the bed takes up the vacancy.

“It is also a fact that a block in processing Fair Deal applications and approvals will force more and more elderly people into our Accident and Emergency Units and into hospital beds significantly increasing the strain on our already hard pressed hospital system.

“Fair Deal is now the only means available for elderly people on benefits or with limited means to access nursing home care. The confusion within the Health system and in government on the Fair Deal system has to be resolved quickly.

“Instructions should be given today to the HSE to switch its computer system back on and to immediately begin processing the applications and approvals.” ENDS

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