Major backlog in Sligo and Leitrim leaves ‘sickest and most vulnerable’ waiting for places on Fair Deal Scheme

At almost 100, number needing places on scheme ‘unacceptably high’, says Scanlon

Sligo News File Online

Cllr. Eamon Scanlon, Fianna FAIL
Cllr. Eamon Scanlon, Fianna FAIL

Fianna Fáil candidate for Sligo-Leitrim, Cllr. Eamon Scanlon has said new figures his party has obtained through Parliamentary Questions reveal that almost 100 people in Sligo and Leitrim are waiting for a place on the Fair Deal nursing home scheme. Of the total, he said, 75 are waiting for approval while funding is being sought in the remainder of the cases. 

Condemning the situation as “unacceptably high”, Cllr. Scanlon said that “despite promises by Minister Varadkar that funding would be made available for the Fair Deal scheme, problems with the system were still causing major backlogs across Sligo and Leitrim.”

He said “the waiting list crisis, which peaked last autumn, saw some of the sickest and most vulnerable older people stranded in hospitals or at home while they waited for suitable residential beds to become available. This was a completely avoidable situation, solely brought about by the Government’s decision to take 700 beds out of the system.

“The Government, and specifically Minister Leo Varadkar, has been trying to back-peddle over the past six months to bring the scheme under control.  However, the number of people waiting for a place on Fair Deal in Sligo and Leitrim remains unacceptably high.  The Minister’s announcement of additional funding back in April was welcome, but it has failed to make any tangible inroads into the situation here in the North West.”

Fianna Fáil, he said, “has emphasised the importance of community based care. 

“In our health policy, ‘Putting Patients and Services First’, the party has committed to the development of a national strategy for the long term care of our older people.  In the short term we want the 2016 HSE Service Plan to provide for an extra 800 residential places on top of what was announced in April.  And we want the funding to be paid from the time of approval.

“I’m concerned that we will be back in the eye of the storm later in the year, when the latest round of funding runs out.  We cannot continue to jump from crisis to crisis – we need a sustainable solution to reverse the severe cuts, which were brought in by this Government, so that older people across Sligo and Leitrim are not left waiting weeks and months for a place on this important scheme”.