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Still no funding for dormant daycare unit

GOVERNMENT funding to open the purpose-built Clarecastle dementia daycare unit, that has lain idle for one year, is still not available.
The Minister of State for Older People and Health Promotion, Áine Brady, met with Clare deputies Joe Carey, Timmy Dooley and Minister for Defence Tony Killeen this week and confirmed that there is currently no funding to open the dementia daycare unit and such funding is unlikely to become available in the short-term.
Deputy Carey said that the unit is ready to open and provide daycare services for 25 dementia patients, but there is no funding for its operation and staffing.
He said he is hugely disappointed and concerned that the government will not provide funding to open the unit, which is built on the grounds of the Clarecastle Daycare Centre. The unit has been completed since May 2009, but remains closed.
He added that the decision was a further example of the Government not making the right decisions for regional healthcare and community care facilities.
“The issue of the Clarecastle Dementia Daycare centre is one of huge concern to my constituency. In recent months, I have pressed the Government on this issue and met with both the Minister for Health and Minister of State for Older People on several occasions. Minister Brady has indicated in a meeting with me that the government is not willing to fund the opening of this centre. I think this is a hugely shortsighted decision which is not consistent with best community care practise.”
Deputy Carey pointed out that the dementia daycare centre facility in Clarecastle would serve a catchment area with a population of 48,000 providing vital services for the person suffering from dementia and valuable respite for their carers.
“There is presently a waiting list of people suffering from dementia seeking these services. It’s an absolute scandal that the doors of this unit remain closed and Government would now appear to be turning its back on the facility,” he said.
He is calling on both Fianna Fáil TDs in Clare, in particular Minister Killeen, to ask the Government to rethink this decision. 
“We have to ask ourselves what kind of a society do we want for our future generations? Do we want one where state-of-the art centres of specialised community care, such as this one, remain locked up while waiting lists spiral? I don’t believe this decision is the right one,” Deputy Carey said.
He also confirmed that there is a waiting list of 30 patients who suffer from dementia for this service and the unit can cater for 25 patients. “This is a penny wise, pound foolish decision which ignores the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” he added.
Gerard Lynch, one of the board members of the Clare Daycare Centre, said that they recognise the difficulties in public finances, but stressed that for a relatively small amount of money, the dementia daycare unit could be opened on a phased basis.
“The issue is funding for the dementia daycare unit, as the HSE is not in a position to extend funding to it.  €150,000 for the next 12 months would enable the unit to open for eight to 10 people. There is a lack of a thought-out strategy, as daycare for dementia patients is very cost-effective. The benefit of opening the unit on a phased basis is that it would give confirmation of the benefits that daycare brings to patients, and we would like the benefits of this service to be acknowledged in terms of funding,” Mr Lynch commented.
He added that as they currently don’t have funding to open the daycare dementia unit, they are doing everything possible to accommodate patients within the current budget. “We cannot formally open the daycare unit without an allocation of funding,” he added.

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