Sinn Féin TD for Tipperary Martin Browne has called on the Government to act urgently to ensure carers are available to assist people who need home support, after new figures revealed the number of people in the healthcare area that covers the Mid-West, including north Tipperary, have been left without much-needed carers.
Figures released to Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers Pauline Tully by the HSE, have exposed that 461 are waiting for a carer to be allocated to them despite being approved.
Almost 5,000 people across the State are waiting for help help, the figures reveal.
Deputy Browne said that the figures released by the HSE in response to a parliamentary question exposed a growing crisis when it came to homecarers in Ireland.
“In total 461 people have been approved for a carer in CHO3, which includes north Tipperary, but despite this have not been allocated a carer due to severe shortages,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”
Deputy Browne said that Sinn Féin had been warning for many years now of a looming crisis within the homecare system, as too many people who required homecare weren’t getting the hours that they needed.
“This crisis has spiralled during the pandemic, yet the Government has consistently failed to properly plan and put contingencies in place,” he said.
The Cashel TD said that behind every statistic were real lives and real people who were being let down by the State.
People with disabilities and older people should have every right to lead full, independent lives and receive sufficient support from the State to meet their needs, said Deputy Browne.
In response to the parliamentary question, the Government acknowledged that “factors, such as the contracts of employment on offer and employment terms and conditions being offered are a factor in the recruitment challenges faced by the sector”.
“I am calling on the Government to engage with private and community and voluntary homecare providers to incentivise the progression of the terms and conditions they offer their staff and bring them into line with those employed directly by the HSE,” he aid.
Deputy Browne further called on the Government to reintroduce priority PCR testing for healthcare staff, including homecare workers, as well as relax the income and working hours limits for part-time homecare workers in receipt of social welfare payments to quickly introduce additional capacity to the homecare sector.
“This situation is not good enough for people here in north Tipperary and across the State. The Government must stop burying their head in the sand on this issue and finally prioritise people with disabilities to ensure they get the support they deserve,” said the TD.
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