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Minister must listen to concerns on new nursing home care scheme – Ó Caoláin

13 December, 2006

Commenting on the proposed new scheme for funding long-term nursing home care, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney needs to listen carefully to the concerns already raised by older people over the scheme, to ensure widespread consultation and to amend it as required to ensure that the needs and fears of older people are met.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The scheme announced by Health Minister Mary Harney is very complex. It requires careful analysis and all its implications need to be fully teased out. On the face of it the new scheme seems like a fairer system than that currently in place which is clearly failing to meet the needs of older people and their families. However legitimate concerns have been raised at the manner in which part of the value of the family home is to be utilised in paying for care. Sinn Féin is opposed to such a measure.

"The Minister's scheme involves both a medical assessment and a means test. It covers both public and private nursing homes. It is going to be very difficult for people to understand and access.

"Sinn Féin will be responding in detail to this proposal and the legislation when it is published. Sinn Féin is for a fully public system of health and personal social services with care free at the point of delivery based on need alone. Under such a system long-term nursing home care would be provided to those who require it and it would be funded from fair and progressive taxation. It would be a fairer and much more straightforward system than what the Minister is now proposing." ENDS

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