Home help crisis is ‘a national scandal’

The crisis in terms of home help throughout the country is a national scandal, according to Deputy Denis Naughten. Speaking in the Dáil recently, he raised the lack of home help for those who are new applicants or who are applying for additional hours. He described as a ‘national scandal’ the fact that the HSE has issued a directive that under no circumstances are additional hours or additional persons to be approved for home help, even though there is money that remains unspent for the first two months of the year. ‘A similar situation has arisen with the much sought after homecare package due to the same policy direction,’ explained Deputy Naughten. ‘For an individual to avail of such a package, a person currently in receipt of such a package must pass away. Why should families be forced to monitor the death notices to see whether they will receive a service? This is a national disgrace. ‘What is extremely frustrating is the fact that while the HSE won’t allow the recruitment of home helps they have no difficulty in appointing additional managers to coordinate the home help programme throughout the country. ‘This ban on the provision of home help throughout the county is causing severe hardship for many families as well as the elderly and disabled people who wish to live with dignity in their own homes.’ Deputy Naughten continued: ‘There is no doubt that since the Government established the HSE there is now more red tape, more managers and less front line services being provided to the public. While the Government tries to distance itself from the HSE the fact remains that they hand over the money and whoever pays the piper calls the tune.’