Thursday, 7 November 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I thank the Tánaiste for his reply. At the outset I said there had been a serious deterioration in the health service being delivered to the people during the lifetime of the Government. Waiting lists are growing longer. Every day I am fighting to get people off trolleys and given a bed in Cork hospitals. SouthDoc services in parts of west Cork, particularly Castletownbere, have collapsed and SouthDoc in the rest of west Cork is on the verge of collapse. People in pain waiting for hip and knee surgery are being left in pain. People urgently waiting for cataract operations are left to go blind and this has all happened on the Government's watch. The list of failures is endless and the people of west Cork and elsewhere feel the pain. I have raised the issue of the lack of home help hours many times in the Dáil.
On 30 May last, I raised the issue of the embargo on new home help hours with the Minister of State with responsibility for older people but like the Tánaiste he defended the Government line. We read in the press in the past week that, while addressing a Home and Community Care Ireland conference recently, the Minister of State said he felt ashamed at the waiting list for home help hours. By July of this year, the number waiting for home help hours had reached more than 7,300. The home help service is in crisis. Constituents of mine now tell me that people will not get home help if they are actively dying. They have to be on a morphine pump to qualify for home help. This is an outrage. If we lived in a State where accountability was the norm, heads at the top would roll. The 1 million hours in the budget is far too little far too late. Will the Tánaiste instruct the Minister for Health to lift the home help embargo immediately?