Means testing of home care and other community services not acceptable

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused the government of “dismantling not reforming” the public health services.

He was responding to confirmation from junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch that the government is to introduce means testing and charging for home care packages and other community-based services for older people and people with disabilities.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The government claims to be reforming public health services. In actual fact it is dismantling those services with people forced to pay higher charges for shrinking services and now Minister of State Kathleen Lynch confirming that means testing and charges are to be imposed on people requiring community-based services such as home care. This is another attack on older people and people with disabilities.

“When the government published its so-called reform framework ‘Future Health’ last year we pointed out that such charging was in prospect when it stated that ‘social care services such as services for older people, people with a disability and those who need mental health services, will be outside of the Universal Health Insurance system’ and when it also stated that the so-called ‘Fair Deal’ scheme of funding nursing home care may be extended to the disability and mental health sectors.

“Charging vulnerable people for vital community-based services that, in many cases, are allowing them to remain in their homes and out of residential care, is not acceptable. It would be punitive and counter-productive and should not proceed.”

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