'Fair Deal' scheme failing those most in need – Sandra McLellan TD
Sinn Féin Cork East TD Sandra McLellan yesterday slammed the extensive delays in access to the Nursing Home Support Scheme for older citizens seeking care.
Speaking during Private Member’s Business, Deputy McLellan said:
“This ill-fated scheme came about under the watch of the Fianna Fáil and PD Government.
“Sinn Féin flagged serious issues with the funding of this scheme from its inception and unfortunately these issues have not been dealt with to date.
“The Nursing Home Support Scheme was heralded on its launch in 2009 by then Minister for Health, Mary Harney, as ‘accessible, affordable, and anxiety free.’
“A mere five years later, the so-called Fair Deal is grinding to a halt.
“A situation that was completely inevitable from its flawed inception.
“It is no secret that this government has failed people from all backgrounds, of all ages, all over this state.
“2,000 of our older people are waiting fifteen weeks for nursing home care.
“These waiting lists have tripled since January of this year.
“This is entirely unacceptable.
“Nursing Homes Ireland has stated that the excessively long waiting times for State funding for nursing home places is putting patients’ health at risk.
“It claims that some patients have even passed away while waiting for this financial support.
“What a disgraceful way to treat those in most need.
“What is the point of government if not to protect the most vulnerable citizens that elected it?
“We need investment in social care packages specifically to ensure that we can transition someone who does not need a hospital bed, this is not only beneficial for our older people it also is cost effective.
“Also needed are hospital-release planning through links with primary and community services, short-term community nursing home beds, as well as more money for long-term nursing home places.
“These solutions must be put in place urgently and without any more delay.
“It is time to move to a rights based model, where those who need care are entitled to it and can exercise that entitlement. To do anything else would be to fail them.”