Carly Bailey, the Social Democrats general election candidate for Dublin South West has recently slammed the Minister for Health for his failure to deal with the ongoing crisis in older person’s services.

Figures obtained by party co-leader Deputy Róisín Shortall from the HSE show that in spite of the promises for increased funding, the number of older people on waiting lists in the CHO 7 area, which includes DublinSouth West, has increased from 973 people in May 2018 to 1,090 people waiting in October 2018. Over 6,300 people are waiting nationally. Bailey said “Many older people want to continue to live independently in their own homes but require a little assistance during the day to make this possible. As it stands, many people are being sanctioned just five hours a week help, which is just an hour a day, even if they require more support. Despite this, the government refuses to fund this vital service and the waiting list to access the service in the first place is continuing to rise”.

Deputy Shortall said “The Minister announced that there would be funding for an additional 550 Home Care Packages as part of the HSE’s Winter Plan. When seen in the context of these figures, 550 does not even represent a tenth of existing demand. This paltry figure is an insult to older people when so many are waiting for services.” Carly Bailey said “Allowing older people to have a choice and to retain their independence and autonomy is hugely important. Home packages are also much more cost-effective. The average weekly cost for this service stands at €160, where as the cost of a week’s stay in a nursing home is around €1000. To compound the issue, some older people may end up staying in hospital for longer than is medically required simply because the home support budget is so depleted. Yet a hospital bed costs approximately €6000. There is no joined up thinking around this, something that has to change if we ever want to reform our health system.”