Thursday, 11 July 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
While I accept the Tánaiste not having the information, my frustration is this has been a very live issue in this House for the past four weeks. We have had debates and special time allocated. A number of CHOs have advised that home help hours will not be made available to any family unless their loved one has a terminal condition and that must be proved by a letter from a consultant.
Figures provided to Deputy Donnelly show that in June 18,600 bed days were lost because of delayed discharges from hospitals. At the same time one in every ten applicants for home help support is waiting for some hours. The two are connected. The lack of investment, understanding and commitment on the part of the Government to follow the money to ensure that the money the Tánaiste keeps talking about is actually being spent on hours is having an impact on delayed discharges, thus impacting on acute hospital services.
Why will the Government not ensure as a priority that home help hours are made available to those who need them and that families are not put through the trauma of having to go to their consultant and get a letter to say that their loved one is dying so that they might get an hour or two of home help? The Government needs a laser focus to ensure that the money it says is being invested is actually being spent on home help hours because all the figures show that families and loved ones all over the country are not getting those hours, that people are being delayed from being discharged from hospitals and that the system is not working.