THE Government’s progress on extending the Fair Deal Scheme to Home Care is proceeding at a snail’s pace, Clare Deputy Dr Michael Harty has claimed.
The independent TD has, however, welcomed the decision by Helen McEntee, Minister for Older People, to launch a public consultation process at the end of May.
“I welcome this public consultation as it is important to seek the opinions of all those who have views on the subject including old people themselves. I also welcome the fact that the department commissioned the Health Research Board to undertake a review of the home care systems that are in place in four other European countries. However, long experience in the health service has taught me that reports upon reports can merely act as a delaying tactic.
“I don’t doubt the minister’s assurance that Government considers that a standalone funding scheme, designed for Home Care is needed but I don’t detect any real sense of urgency in her response to my enquiry. The provision of Home Care for elderly people is one of the most pressing issues facing the health system today. Ultimately, it will be cheaper, socially more desirable and really appreciated by older people themselves.
“The introduction of a Fair Deal type of scheme for Home Care is only a part solution in the provision of Home Care packages but it can be an important element. I just wish Government would get on with it, cut through the bureaucratic morass that is the Irish health system and introduce proper formal home care financing and regulation. Inertia simply won’t do the business,”Dr Harty concluded.