Sinn Féin TD for the Sligo-Leitrim Constituency, Martin Kenny, has called on the government to act urgently to ensure carers are available to assist people who need home support after new figures revealed shocking numbers of people in his area have been left without much-needed carers.
Figures released to Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers Pauline Tully TD by the HSE, have exposed that almost 5,000 people across the state are waiting for a carer to be allocated to them despite being approved. Of these, 208 are living in CHO1 which includes Sligo and Leitrim.
Commenting on the figures, Deputy Kenny said: “Figures released to Sinn Féin by the HSE in response to a parliamentary question expose a growing crisis when it comes to home carers in Ireland.
“There are currently 208 people who have been approved for a carer in CHO area 1, but despite this have not been allocated a carer due to severe shortages. Almost 5,000 people are in this unacceptable situation across the state.
“This is unacceptable. Sinn Féin has been warning for many years now of a looming crisis within the homecare system, as too many people who require home care aren’t getting the hours that they need. This crisis has spiralled during the pandemic, yet the government has consistently failed to properly plan and put contingencies in place."
The Sinn Féin TD said that behind these statistics are "real lives and real people who are being let down by the state.
"People with disabilities and older people should have every right to lead full, independent lives and receive sufficient support from the state to meet their needs," he stressed.
Deputy Kenny noted that in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers, Pauline Tully TD, the government acknowledged that "factors, such as the contracts of employment on offer and employment terms and conditions being offered are a factor in the recruitment challenges faced by the sector".
“I am calling on the government to engage with private and community and voluntary homecare providers to incentivise the progression of the terms and conditions they offer their staff and bring them into line with those employed directly by the HSE. I am also calling on the government to reintroduce priority PCR testing for healthcare staff, including home care workers, as well as relax the income and working hours limits for part-time homecare workers in receipt of social welfare payments to quickly introduce additional capacity to the homecare sector," said Deputy Kenny.
“This situation is not good enough for people here in rural Ireland and across the state. The government must stop burying their head in the sand on this issue and finally prioritise people with disabilities to ensure they get the support they deserve.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.