Thursday, 29 April 2021
Covid-19, Mental Health and Older People: Statements
I thank the Minister of State for her presentation. I join with my colleague in congratulating the Minister for Justice and her husband, Paul, on the birth of their son this morning.
I will raise my concern about the number of people who are bed bound. I was given figures at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Health three weeks ago which indicated that 1,600 bed bound people had received vaccination and that a further 300 were awaiting vaccination. Those figures seem to be totally incorrect. How did we arrive at those misinformed figures? We are now talking about 3,500 people. Surely the HSE should have had a serious idea of what it was expecting in this area. Even if the figure of 3,500 the Minister of State has mentioned is correct, we should be given a detailed statement as to why this earlier figure was so out of synch with what was really happening on the ground.
I published the Health (Amendment) (Professional Home Care) Bill 2020 last July. It was debate in the Dáil in September but the Second Reading was adjourned for 12 months. I understand that proposals were made to Cabinet in the last week as regards how we intend to register those who provide home care. Will the Minister of State provide a detailed update in writing at to how we intend to progress on this issue? This ties in the with the issue I raised earlier, the need for a really comprehensive set of guidelines, rules and information with regard to the provision of home care, because the number of people who require home care will continue to increase.
The final issue I will raise relates to ophthalmology and cataract services, especially in the southern region. In excess of €10 million has now been made available for outpatient facilities in the South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital and a new theatre. There will, however, be a waiting period. What additional work can be done to help those who are on the waiting list? My understanding is that those who are on the waiting list will wait a maximum of a six months but there is the matter of getting on the waiting list. How can we assist the professionals providing this service, the nurses and doctors, and ensure that people can get on the waiting list in a timely manner rather than having to wait two or three years? Will the Minister of State provide an update on that issue?