South Kildare TD, Fiona O’Loughlin says that the Minister for Health must provide answers over the growing outsourcing of home help support hours to private and voluntary providers.
Deputy O’Loughlin was commenting following new information released to Fianna Fáil that reveals high levels of outsourcing across the country, with 76% of home support hours in Kildare being outsourced.
She said:“Unsurprisingly, demand for home support hours is high as more people are choosing to be cared for at home if the option is available to them. However, the government and the HSE appears to be failing to cope. We already know that new applications have been restricted – a regressive and potentially detrimental measure – and now information supplied reveals that over half of all home support provision has been outsourced to private and voluntary providers”.
Deputy O'Loughlin said:“Private care is twice as expensive as delivering the services through the HSE and these figures raise serious questions about value for money. The State already forks out hundreds of millions of euro a year on agency nursing and now its emerged that the HSE had adopted a similar practice for home support hours”.
She said:“The lack of home help hours as critical to aiding people remain in there homes for longer and the HSE simply does not have enough resources to allocate further staff. The latest figures from the HSE reveal that 6,310 people were on waiting lists for home help services at the end of April. Kildare has almost 300 people waiting for supports in May of this year”.
Deputy O'Loughlin said:“At a time when we are facing overspends of billions of euro on the National Children’s Hospital and the National Broadband Plan, the government should be looking at ways to save money. It is well known that private health care is vastly more expensive. The Health Minister should be looking at ways to deliver these services through the public system.
She said:“Our population is living longer, and we should be putting plans in place to cope with the demands which are coming down the tracks. We need to shift to a more community-based healthcare service, as outlined in Sláintecare. Home support packages are a key requirement to ensure that people can stay in their homes for longer and Fine Gael’s failure to adapt is denying thousands of people the healthcare they deserve."