LABOUR Senator John Whelan has reiterated and renewed his support for home help workers and the vital service they provide in the community.
Senator Whelan said that he remains diametrically opposed to ongoing and further attempts to undermine and cutback the home help services. He was speaking after he and local Labour Party community representative, Noel Tuohy, met this week with a delegation from HSE home helps led by Siptu organiser, Dimma van Dulmen.
“I am alarmed and furious to learn of personal cases such as one elderly woman who had been afforded home help three times a week to assist her bathing and this has now apparently been reduced to once a week. When challenged the HSE reply was that her nephews who lived nearby could help her,” he said.
“The HSE home help workers themselves are being treated very shabbily and are now being expected to assist clients in 15 minute time slots. It is not possible to get someone out of bed, wash and dress and get them a cup of tea in this time, much less care for them.”
The senator said the practice is not only callous but it makes no economic sense and will have no appreciable bearing on the HSE’s overall budgetary overrun as it targets €8m in savings under home helps services.
“The Department of Health should look elsewhere for its savings within the HSE rather than picking on the most vulnerable,” he said.
Deputy Whelan concluded by saying that he will continue to make this case, support the home helps and press for resources to be restored to this sector in the upcoming budget.