“The Government decision to cut back the Home Help Service can only be described as a savage attack on some of the most vulnerable people in society”, Sligo Councillor Declan Bree said when he addressed a meeting of the People First group this week recently.
“These proposed cuts will affect the most vulnerable in society – older people in need of support – who are being more and more marginalised as a result of ongoing austerity measures. Early indications suggest that a minimum of 7,000 hours a month will be cut from the Home Help Service in Leitrim and Sligo. This is unacceptable,” he said.
“Home Help is a fundamental part of delivering health services at community level. While cuts to hospital services or the closure of hospital wards can be immediately identified, the cuts in the Home Help Service will initially not be as obvious to the general public. As home helpers work in the home they are somewhat invisible to the public. However they provide a hugely important service. Without this type of care many people wouldn’t be able to live in their own home.”
The Sligo Councillor said that cuts to homecare services will result in earlier admissions to nursing homes and longer stays in acute hospitals.
“The cost of home care provision is significantly less than that of nursing home care provision, or long term hospital stay. The cost of an acute hospital bed is €899 a day or €328,000 a year. The proposed cut backs are totally illogical and will result in more people being decanted into hospitals while at the same time fewer will be fit for safe discharge home,” he maintained.
“Elderly people receiving home help services and the Home Help workers who provide the service now need the support of the general public. The Governments proposed cut backs must now be reversed.”