Friday, 16 July 2021
Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages
Alice-Mary Higgins (Independent)
I thank the Minister for indicating that she will talk to the HSE. We will return to the issue of statutory entitlement to home care in the next amendment. I helped to run the Make Home Work campaign seven years ago. Change in this regard has been a long time coming and I hope it happens soon. It is in the programme for Government. We will come to that point in a moment. Another aspect concerns decongregation and moving people out of these unsuitable situations.
Turning to this amendment, I thank the Minister of State for indicating that she will talk to the HSE. In the meantime, we are trying to do better as a State, a Government and legislators. It is an important point. There is also the aspect of trying to map the level of the existing problem and then trying to chart a path away from it. We must also, however, consider individual rights and opportunities for all the people concerned in this regard, not all of whom will be in the pilot scheme. Some people will be present only as the statistics that will inform us of the prevalence of the problem and the challenge facing us in addressing it. The years to come should not be wasted years for these people. We must ensure that younger people are not being placed in these situations.
Recent figures tell us that 18 people transitioned out, but 20 more went in. We are losing ground even as we are trying to gain it. Therefore, I urge the Minister of State to talk to the HSE in this regard. I do not know if something can be done via regulations, the addition of another scheme on top of what exists or through some kind of deduction. We must, by whatever means we achieve it, ensure that younger people and everyone under 65 going into these situations, as described in the report from Peter Tyndall, have educational, training or other similar opportunities in the next year to allow them to prepare at the same time as the State is trying to create a better statutory living situation for them.