Thursday, 27 June 2013
I welcome the Minister of State to the House. My Adjournment matter follows a presentation yesterday and the publication of a report by the Irish Hospice Foundation entitled, Access to Specialist Palliative Care Services in the Place of Death in Ireland. The figures in the report reflect the need for action to be taken. I am not blaming the Minister or the Department because this is a policy that was developed over 12 years ago. Unfortunately, when times were good, not a lot of progress was made, and we must now look at that plan in 2001 and what we can do now taking into account that there are far greater financial restrictions. There is also an issue of demands.
It was striking that more than 2,500 patients are denied access to hospice inpatient care every year. There are 155 hospice beds in the country, with another 44 beds ready, 20 of them in Cork, along with an extra 36 staff. The number in Marymount will increase from 24 to 44. The figures, however, that frighten me are those stating that by 2016, around 12,500 will require hospice care of some degree during the year.
The report also highlighted that only 7% of home care patients in the better resourced hospice services in the mid-west die in acute hospitals in contrast with 32% in the north east. Where there is hospice care and support services in place, there is less need for acute hospital attendance, which leads to a huge saving. Now we have this detailed research available, how can we work towards planning for the future?