Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) calls on the HSE to show leadership and ensure a universal approach to personal assistance during the pandemic.
ILMI has called on the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and the HSE to provide clarity and direction to address serious concerns that Leaders have in relation to the failure of the Government’s COVID-19 emergency planning to account for disruptions to Personal Assistance Service (PAS).
“We are calling on the HSE to provide clear direction on the maintenance of standard PAS for all Leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. This needs to be nationwide direction applicable to all PAS delivered by all service providers. The HSE needs to ensure that clear information in relation to their services is communicated directly to Leaders. During recent online discussions, ILMI members have repeatedly raised that they have not received any relevant information in relation to their service and how it will be continued during the Covid19 public health emergency” said ILMI Chairperson, Des Kenny.
During online consultations with disabled people from across the country, ILMI members have raised the following concerns:
· The need for the HSE to provide clear direction on the maintenance of standard PAS for all Leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. This needs to be a blanket nationwide direction applicable to all PAS delivered by all service providers.
· If a Leader is diagnosed with COVID-19 and instructed to self-isolate, how will this impact upon their PAS? Will there be emergency staff deployed to provide a service? If so what level of service will be provided, how will these staff be trained and by whom?
· If a Leader is diagnosed with COVID-19 and needs in-patient hospital care, what level of support will be available in the hospital setting?
· Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be provided to all Leaders. This must include hand sanitiser, gloves and masks. Many Leaders have a range of underlying health issues, which make them particularly disposed to contracting COVID-19. Many of the required elements of PPE are no longer freely available to purchase and where they are, they are priced beyond the reasonable price brackets that would allow for disabled people to purchase them.