There are 941 fewer Health Care Support Assistants now than in December 2015. John Curran TD has said the number of people on waiting lists for home care supports will continue to rise unless more staff are employed. The Deputy obtained figures this month which reveal that the number of Home Care Assistants employed by the Health Service Executive has steadily decreased since 2015 despite there being significantly greater demand for home care services during the very same period. “The level of demand for home support continues to grow but no improvements have been made to the level of service provision. In my own area for instance, there was a 30% rise in the number of people left waiting for home support services between April and August. This increase in demand was foreseen and very well flagged given the size of our aging population,” he commented.

“Many of the families I speak to are beyond desperate waiting for some degree of supports from the HSE with caring for an elderly loved one that’s been assessed for home care services. It’s a sheer lack of resources that is causing these backlogs. “A number of months ago the HSE indicated to me that it was engaged in implementing a national approach to assessing the care needs of our older people but it’s difficult to see how that could so when the number of staff employed is going down each year. “If the required level of staff is simply not in place then it’s hard to see anything other than further delays for even more families. The Minister needs to acknowledge this very obvious deficit and make provisions for additional staff to be employed, “ he concluded.