A TD has urged the government to act immediately on what they referred to as "the growing homecare crisis in North Kildare."
Sinn Féin's (SF) Réada Cronin said that 500 approved cases have been left waiting for homecare help in the broader CH07 area.
She explained that, in order to ease the pressure on those waiting, she is calling for all healthcare workers (including homecare workers) to be re-prioritised for PCR testing, and for a relaxation around hours and income limits for part-time homecare workers who are depending on social welfare.
"I have families approved for homecare coming to me at the end of their tether, unable to cope while they are waiting for the help they are sanctioned for and entitled to... they are being worn away," Cronin explained.
"At the same time carers who could go to help them are being stopped by red-tape around hours and limits which should not apply in the pandemic.
"HSE figures released to SF spokesperson on Disability and Carers Pauline Tully TD show that almost 5,000 people across the state are waiting for a carer to be allocated to them despite being approved: these are not statistics, they are real people, in real need."
She continued: "In SF, we have been warning about this for a long time.
"Take our elderly: they want to stay home and live independently for as long as possible, and so they can do that: I believe we should be paying our homecarers well, treating them well, instead of putting billions into the bank accounts of the huge international wealthfunds who have such a major stake in our private nursing homes now. Everyone’s life is for living, not for making international wealthfunds wealthier."
"The govt acknowledges 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’.
"But they are the govt: they are the people who need to address this. It’s not going to solve itself."
Cronin said that she is calling on the govt to engage with private and community and voluntary homecare providers to incentivise the progression of the terms and conditions that they offer their staff and bring them into line with those employed directly by the HSE.
She concluded: "Bottom line? Life is short, people can’t spend it waiting. It’s a govt’s job to make sure that this short life is a good life by providing the essential services people need: it’s not rocket science."
In related news, Réada Cronin's fellow Kildare SF politician Patricia Ryan TD said that the govt has shown "little urgency" to support households.
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