Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West, Seán Crowe, has said that the Government must intervene to reverse the freeze in Home Help hours.

Crowe said that this freeze makes no budgetary sense as it costs €5,964 per week to care for someone in an acute hospital bed, while it costs just €160 per week with a home help support package.

 Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“In recent weeks we have learned that the Health Service Executive (HSE) has effectively suspended the allocation of home help to new applicants until November.

“This freeze is going to have a major impact on older citizens in need of care, on their families, on people with a disability, and on their carers.

“It will also put huge pressure on hospitals because of delayed discharges and it will force older people into nursing homes.

“All of this is happening because the HSE says there is a need to balance their budget for 2019. The real measure of performance here is that there are over 6,000 people on waiting lists and there are countless others who effectively have had their home hours cuts.

“Without enough home help hours patients are forced to remain in hospitals at a huge cost, or else their families are forced to pay huge sums for private for home care supports.

“The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, this week bizarrely claimed that home care does not reduce bed numbers. This is contradicting the HSE’s own 2018 Capacity Review.

“While the Taoiseach and his Cabinet dither, many older and seriously ill people are becoming more and more desperate as they cannot access the necessary home help hours that will allow them to live independent lives.

“The way forward must involve funding for additional home help hours for the rest of the year.”