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Taoiseach trying to minimise home care scandal – Ó Caoláin

14 December, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that the Taoiseach does not recognise the seriousness of the home care scandal. Responding to the Taoiseach’s remarks in the Dáil today on the Prime Time Investigates revelations, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The Taoiseach tried to minimise what was revealed in the Prime Time Investigates programme showing the neglect and abuse of older people by private home care providers under contract to the HSE. He spoke of four cases as if it concerned only four older people.

“This is a total misrepresentation. The programme covered two major home care providers who were tasked with caring for a large number of older people. It also looked at the cases of a number of individual older people whose experience is clearly representative of others who have experienced the gross inadequacy of much home care being provided in this State. People were justifiably appalled by these revelations and the Taoiseach’s response is totally inadequate.

“The Government last week reduced the minimum wage, putting more money in the pockets of the type of sharks we saw on the Prime Time Investigates programme, people posing as care providers who exploit untrained and unqualified care workers by paying minimum or below minimum wages.

“These private for-profit companies are receiving millions of euros every year from the HSE. Apart from the pittance paid to care staff, this public money is going into the pockets of the owners.

“The home care scandal exposes the abject failure of this Government’s policy of privatising health & personal social services.

“I call on the Government to put in place, without further delay and on a statutory basis, regulations for the home care sector, to empower and resource HIQA to monitor compliance with these regulations, to establish proper qualifications, pay and conditions for home care workers and to change Government policy from privatisation to one of direct provision of home care by the HSE.” ENDS

* Note to editor: Deputy Ó Caoláin has secured a Dáil adjournment debate on this issue this evening.

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