Home help group petitions HSE
A campaign group calling for the immediate reversal of cuts to home help hours and home care packages has presented a 10,000 signature petition to the HSE.
In October the HSE announced it would cut 450,000 help hours on top of an earlier cut of 600,000 hours to save €8 million.
John Lyons of the Home Help/Home Care Community Action Group today said the relatively small saving did not justify the “hardship and misery for people who are so dependent on that wee bit of State support”.
The small group of about 10 people that gathered outside the HSE’s Dublin headquarters had hoped to meet director designate Tony O’Brien but presented the petition to two officials after being told he was away.
John Hancock, a double amputee from Cavan, said he joined the demonstration “because sooner or later someone is going to die from losing their home help”. He said the human contact provided by home carers was vital for older people. “It’s about human contact, it’s not just about what they do.”
Mr Hancock, who is 65 and requires medication for various ailments, has had his home help reduced from 9.5 hours a week to 8.5 hours. He said he no longer receives assistance on Thursday mornings and consequently fears he will oversleep and fail to take his medication. “I go to bed on Wednesday night thinking ‘I hope I wake up’. To be honest I end up not sleeping.”
He said he has worked for 41 years and is galled that now “during my hour of need” the HSE has withdrawn some of his home help.
Carer Joan Fleming said she came out to protest on behalf of her clients. It was “disgraceful”, she said, that people who had worked all their lives would be subjected to healthcare cuts.