Cut in respite hours in Leitrim is 'shocking'

Claire McGovern

Reporter:

Claire McGovern

Cut in respite hours in  Leitrim is 'shocking'

Kenny claims there has been a 43% cut in hours in Sligo-Leitrim.

Martin Kenny, TD for Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal, has  claimed people are suffering lack of respite,  and that the extent of the cut in daytime hours is shocking.

He has revealed the HSE response to parliamentary questions from his party’s health spokeswoman on the issue of cuts to respite care in Sligo and Leitrim.

Deputy Kenny said: “It was no surprise that respite hours had been cut in this constituency, because I know people are suffering lack of respite, but the extent of the cut in daytime hours is shocking.

“During the first quarter of last year there were 1,313 hours of daytime respite provided by the HSE in Sligo-Leitrim, but the first quarter of 2017 sees just 744 hours provided. That is a loss of 569 hours or a shocking 43%.

“I am angered at the figures released to my colleague by the HSE which showed that while the number in need of respite is rising the allocation of respite care hours is decreasing.

“The figures released show that, nationally, in the first quarter of 2016 there were 44,141 overnight hours of respite care provided, however, in Q1 2017 this figure had dropped to 40,597.

 “This is completely shocking and unacceptable. These hours provide respite to parents and families who have a child in the household with a disability; they are some of the hardest pressed and struggling families in the state, and the evidence shows that this government is failing them.

“If the trend continues as predicted by these figures, the crisis will deepen.  As it is, the overnight respite hours provided here fell by ten percent from 607 during Q1 2016, to 541 in the first quarter of 2017. A total of 66 hours in overnight respite might not seem like a lot to someone looking at the table of figures, but I know and parents and friends of people who need full-time care know well, that every hour is important and a cut of 66 hours is too much.”

“Parents and families are at breaking point.  The government must stop slashing the provision of respite care hours and increase the funding for this basic service so that struggling families will get relief and their children will get respite care,” he concluded.