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Fair Deal crisis in Louth - Adams

2 April, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed “serious concern at the significant rise in citizens on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Fair Deal) waiting list in County Louth.”

Teachta Adams said:

“According to HSE figures I have received in response to a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Health there has been almost a four fold increase in the number of people on the Fair Deal waiting list for Louth in the last 4 years.

 In 2012 there were 9 people in Louth on the Fair Deal waiting list. In January of this year that number had risen to 33. In the Dublin North East region, which incorporates Louth, Cavan/Monaghan, Meath and Dublin North the number has risen from 68 in 2012 to 252 in January of this year.

This reflects a similar picture across the state. In January 2012 there were 325 citizens on the Fair Deal waiting list. In January 2015 that figure was 1196.

In response to a Parliamentary Question two months ago the Minister for Health claimed that the government’s allocation of an extra €25 million to address delayed discharges and provide additional home packages would see the 300 additional Fair Deal beds and a reduction in the time people would have to wait for a fair deal bed.

However, in February the HSE director general Tony O’Brien warned the Oireachtas health committee that the waiting list for the scheme will grow to 2,200 people by the end of the year while waiting times will swell to 18-20 weeks.  

The PQ response I have received from the HSE shows that there has been a cut of over 50 million euro in the Fair Deal budget. In 2011 it was €1,011m. This year the figure is €948.7m – a drop of €52.3 million.

(The PQ gives a figure of 948.7 but there was an additional allocation of 10 million bringing the total to 958.7)

The failure of the government to plan properly for health and in particular for fair deal, puts patients at clinical risk. The ad hoc and inadequate way in which the government has approached this issue means that people have to wait too long on trolleys because beds are not available as a result of delayed discharges. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is particularly affected and consequently tops the list of hospitals with the worst trolley numbers. This is unacceptable and is further evidence of chaos and damage caused by the government’s austerity policies.”

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