Laois-Offaly home help hours cut 'shameful'

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Anger amid reports home help hours cut in Laois and Offaly

Anger amid reports home help hours cut in Laois and Offaly

Brian Stanley TD  has demanded that the HSE explain why the number of home help hours provided in Laois and Offaly were cut by an astonishing 14,558 hours in 2017 compared to 2016, when there is clearly increasing demand for home help in the region.

Deputy Stanley said: “In answer to a parliamentary question the HSE stated that home help Hours in Laois and Offaly for 2016 were 316,097 and in 2017 that was cut to 301,539 - that is 14,558 less home help hours in this region - this is utterly shameful. Despite previous government statements that extra hours would be provided and that they have budgeted for more hours.

“This is completely unacceptable and I would like the HSE to explain why this is the case,” he continued. “It is clear that from calls I receive from families looking for home help for their loved ones that the demand has not reduced.

Deputy Stanley said that the HSE previously confirmed that 323 elderly people were approved for home help in 2017 in Laois, but 190 of those people were still waiting to be provided with hours.

“When people can avail of the home care/home help packages that are available from the HSE, it is a very good service. With the change of demographics and with the number of elderly people due to increase dramatically in the coming years, we need to put the structures and supports in place to cope with the increase demand,” he said.

Deputy Stanley said that Sinn Fein’s budget proposal in 2018 put in costed proposals to expand the services and provide extra home help hours and home care packages.

“I’m calling on the Minister to revisit this area and make better use of the finances available,” he said.

“Home Help is an essential service for the sick and elderly especially in rural Ireland where people may not have anyone else calling to see them from one end of the week to the other.

It is an increase in home help hours that is needed not a reduction and I would like the HSE and Government to explain what is going on here,” Deputy Stanley concluded.