Joe Flaherty (Fianna Fáil)
Fianna Fáil Councillor Joe Flaherty has said his party will provide an extra five million additional home care support hours over the next five years if elected to government.
The commitment comes at a time when the home care support services in Longford and Westmeath are under serious pressure. Councillor Flaherty revealed earlier this month that the latest HSE figures show a four-fold increase in those waiting for home care support in Longford-Westmeath between January and October last.
Cllr Flaherty explained, “The crisis in home care supports has been escalating steadily over the past year. We’ve gone from a situation where there were 16 people waiting for home care hours last Longford-Westmeath last January to 92 people in the most up to date figures to the end of October.
“This is an increase of 475% in 9 months. I have people coming to me extremely distressed because their loved one needs supports and they simply aren’t available. Some people are only getting half an hour a week, while others have been put on a waiting list and don’t know when they will receive any supports. This is simply not good enough. Vulnerable people are not getting the supports that the need because of the complete mismanagement of our health service by Fine Gael.
“Fianna Fáil will move to address this as a matter of priority. Under our health proposals we will provide an additional five million hours of home care support over the next five years as well as implementing a statutory homecare scheme.
“We need to see a more co-ordinated approach to our healthcare system; by increasing the number of hours of home care supports available it will allow for more people to receive the care they need in their own homes and take pressure off the acute hospital system, thereby freeing up beds in our hospitals.
“It’s a shocking situation that there are people who are forced to remain in hospital, despite the fact that they are well enough to be discharged, simply because they cannot access timely home supports.
“This proposal is just one element of a wider health package that will get our health service back on track, to ensure that the most vulnerable are cared for and that all people have timely access to care”, concluded Cllr. Flaherty.
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