Nowhere in Ireland are there more people on a waiting list for homecare than in Galway according to figures from the HSE.
There were 674 people in Galway waiting for funding for homecare services in August, compared with six counties with no waiting list at all.
Figures from the HSE show that there are over 6,200 vulnerable older people or people with disabilities around the country who are in need of support.
With the increasing number of older people requiring homecare, the wildly different waiting times by area show that it’s become a “postcode lottery”.
In contrast with Galway there is no one waiting for homecare support in Kerry, North Cork, Carlow/Kilkenny, South Tipperary, and Dublin South East, and there’s only two people on a waiting list in Louth.
These figures were provided to Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Louise O’Reilly TD by the HSE.
The HSE told Deputy O’Reilly that the main reason for the for the increased demand is Ireland’s aging demographic, an issue that will get more prominent year on year.
“As the number of over 65s in the State grows, it is important that funding for home support and the number of people employed by the HSE to deliver home support grows to meet demand,” said Deputy O’Reilly.
These long waiting times are a matter of serious concern said Deputy O’Reilly as it can lead to, “The escalation of illnesses, older people can have accidents, and it also causes delayed discharges from hospitals.@
In total there are 6,285 people around the state that are waiting for their homecare, with other higher pressure areas found in North Dublin (623) and Wexford (578).
On top of more applications for homecare coming in each year, the HSE admits that as people become more dependent on homecare they will require additional services, putting further strain on the system.
“Getting older or having a disability should not leave you invisible to the State and these supports should not be a postcode lottery depending on where you happen to live,” said Deputy O’Reilly.
“The State must ensure that older people and those who have a disability can get the home support they need and live at home with respect, with dignity, and as comfortably as possible.”