Sinn Féin councillor, Martin Kenny, has called on the Government to invest in Home Help and Home Care Packages as a means of savings money in the health service, as providing early intervention care in the home is a fraction of the cost of hospital care.
In a statement to the Leitrim Observer, Cllr Kenny said, “The latest Government proposal to cut Home Help and Home Care Packages will see almost one million hours withdrawn from the system over a 12 month period.
“In some cases this may result in the total removal of Home Help visits or drastic cuts in hours of care being provided. These services are essential to the health, well-being and quality of life of those availing of them.
“They allow people to live with dignity and independence in their own homes and in their own communities, and are a crucial part of community-based healthcare which helps avoid many thousands of acute hospital inpatient hours.
“The Government needs to invest in Home Help and Home Care Packages as a means of savings money in the health service, as it is widely accepted that providing early intervention care in the home is a fraction of the cost of hospital care.
“The excellent service provided by the Home Help workers in rural areas for the elderly, people recovering from illness and people with disabilities is actually saving lives, which is what the Health Service is supposed to be about. The other side is that it is providing badly needed income to the workers.
“Recently Minister Reilly has been trying, in vain, to explain a lot of things that don’t stand up to scrutiny. Well this is another, it will be interesting to hear him explain, how making even more people unemployed and removing vital services, which will place more people in hospital, is going to improve things.
“Every sensible person can see that the “saving” made by cutting this service will be lost and indeed many multiplies of it spent on hospital and nursing home care when the support of Home Help is removed from vulnerable people.”
Cllr Kenny stated, “Sinn Féin are putting a Private Members motion to the Dáil this week on the issue of cuts to Home Help and Home Care Packages, calling on Government and Opposition alike to recognise the intrinsic importance of these services and to ensure that they are adequately supported.
“The motion, which is to be debated on the floor of the Dáil next Tuesday and Wednesday night, calls on the Government to immediately reverse the cuts to Home Help hours and Home Care Packages and to return funding to pre-Budget 2012 levels.”