Home and Community Care Ireland questions

short-sighted budget which targets elderly and

vulnerable instead of system reform

15 October 2013


Reacting to Budget 2014, Michael Harty, HCCI Chairman said: The budget cuts have once again targeted the elderly and most vulnerable in society with the health minister choosing to slash allowances rather than undertake meaningful long-term reforms to bring greater efficiencies in the sector.


Cuts to medical cards for pensioners over 70 are designed to save €25M, yet in the 50 days from now to the anniversary of Budget 2013 (5 December) the government will spend over €25M on delayed discharges (up to 540,000 per night based on the monthly average of c. 685 Delayed Discharges). The majority are elderly who are fit to be discharged but cannot leave because of lack of funding or funding delays for home care or nursing home places.


Delayed Discharges are, for the most part, a knock-on effect of the lack of joined up thinking with regard to elder care budgets. The ring-fencing of one type of care of another with €1BN currently ring-fenced for the Fair Deal Scheme is channeling elderly people prematurely towards nursing home care which is already experiencing long waiting lists causing a backlog in the system.


Despite Minister Lynch's budget day pledge last year to reform the Fair Deal Scheme we are still waiting on a report. Meanwhile Minister Reilly has highlighted in the Dail that up to 46% of persons in residential homes may not need to be there - 16% of persons in residential homes are deemed low dependency, with a further 29% medium dependency.


Using a conservative estimate that 30% of those with medium to low dependency would be more suitable for home care, an EPS report has highlighted savings of €69m are possible in 2014 alone by enabling low and medium dependency patients currently in nursing homes to be more appropriately care for in their own homes, yet this seems to have fallen on deaf ears.


ENDS


For more information, please contact:


Edel Bach: 086 045 3821 / edel.bach@humebrophy.com


About Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI):


Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) was set up in June 2012 following a merger of the Home Care Association and the Professional Institute of Care Providers. It is the representative body for private home care organisations in Ireland with the primary objective of promoting the highest professional standards of care in the home, in a cost-effective manner.


At present the HCCI has 25 member companies providing employment to almost 8,000 staff and caring for over 6,000 people across every county in Ireland. Home care is a care alternative that is preferred by the majority of care recipients, contributes to improved quality of life and is a cost-effective treatment option. Our members include operators across the country providing 78,000 hours of care each week at the frontline of health service provision.


For further information: www.hcci.ie