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Cllr Kathleen Funchion slams government over "deeply worrying reduction" in number of Fair Deal beds

15 April, 2015 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin’s candidate for the Carlow Kilkenny by-election has slammed the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar for what she describes as "a deeply worrying reduction" in the number of beds available in the constituency of Carlow/Kilkenny under the Fair Deal scheme.

The figures emerged in a response provided by the HSE to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Sinn Féin Leader, Gerry Adams TD.

Cllr Funchion said;

“In 2011, there were 205 beds available in this constituency under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. However, this had fallen, quite dramatically, to 137 beds in 2014.

“This a deeply worrying reduction in the number of beds being provided to those who are in dire need of financial support in order access residential care services.

"We are presented with a statewide situation whereby in January 2012 there were 325 citizens on the Fair Deal waiting list and by January 2015 that figure had ballooned to 1196.

“There can be no doubt that the Fair Deal scheme is in crisis in many constituencies throughout the state. Fine Gael and Labour have decided to keep Fair Deal as a budget capped scheme despite spiralling waiting lists.  This means that vulnerable individuals and families have to go through weeks of waiting at great personal expense.

“The failure to operate the Fair Deal scheme in an effective manner is putting patients at clinical risk. The government’s haphazard approach to the situation has also contributed to the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals.

“It is unacceptable and it cannot be allowed to continue.

"Sinn Féin is calling on the Minister for Health to take immediate action to ensure that the Fair Deal scheme lives up to its name by providing the required number of beds for those in need long-term care.”

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