Independent TD Mattie McGrath has expressed dismay that staff for HSE South have been ordered to prioritise applicants for the Fair Deal scheme to citizens who are resident in Dublin and Cork because of a block imposed by HSE management.
The Fair Deal nursing home support scheme, which provides financial assistance to people in need of long-term nursing home care, came into effect in 2009. It was designed to provide a facility whereby people can apply to the HSE to seek financial support for the cost of their long-term care.
“The block on applications for the scheme is nothing short of a devastating blow to families seeking to find suitable care for their loved ones. I cannot understand how the refusal to process claims from every other county in the country bar Dublin and Cork can inspire anything but dread and anxiety to those who need care the most,” Deputy McGrath said.
It effectively means that the very purpose for which the scheme was set up has been frustrated at management level.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after making concerted efforts to secure a place on the Fair Deal for a County Tipperary family who discovered that despite their 89 year old father qualifying for the scheme were later told that no place would be available because of the HSE block:
“Here we have an 89 year gentleman that has looked after his family all his life, and who in turn was cared for in his old age by his children. However because of his needs it is now no longer safe for him to be cared for in this way. Without the Fair Deal Scheme this family would be expected to pay the enormous sum of €850 a week. It is simply cruel in those circumstances for the HSE to turn and around and say, yes you qualify but no we cannot help you because your address happens to be in Tipperary,” Deputy McGrath observed.
HSE staff who are responsible for the local delivery of the Fair Deal scheme for the elderly have expressed their shock and disappointment that they cannot engage effectively with families and individuals in acute need of the services the Scheme provides for.
“This directive which has been brought in to effect has been deliberately hidden from the public eye. In turn this has given families who had thought that once they qualified their loved ones would be looked after a false sense of security. I am calling on the Minister for Health to immediately reverse this directive before someone loses their life due to an inability to access safe and professional care,” concluded Deputy McGrath.