Independent MEP Marian Harkin today welcomed the Government’s decision to reverse proposed cuts in personal assistance services for people with disabilities.
The Ireland North & West noted that “the proposed cuts would not alone have contravened the government’s strategy for carers but would also have undermined its entire strategy on healthcare which is committed to keeping people in their own homes rather than in hospitals and nursing homes.”
Harkin pointed out that the proposed reductions would place an unacceptable extra burden on persons with disabilities and many carers whose current commitment stretches them to the limit.
“Minister Reilly claims that the mooted 10.8 Million Euro savings will instead be made through cuts in administration, training and travel costs, and better cash management, so it is now incumbent upon him to provide detailed costings of how these savings can be made in a fair, reasonable manner”.
Fairness must come first
Addressing the necessity to make cuts in the health sector, the North & West MEP argued that “there is no saving in government expenditure where the HSE is required to cut cost effective health investment which is then replaced by greater expenditure to cater for the much more expensive costs involved in institutional care.
“The government in it’s Carers Strategy states that it ‘seeks to ensure that carers feel valued and supported and manage their caring responsibilities with confidence and are empowered to have a life of their own outside of caring’. What chance is there of delivery on this aspiration when it is being seriously undermined by the cuts being demanded of the HSE? For example, can the Government not find additional savings which will allow the proposed cuts to older people’s services to be reversed?
“If the government is not to foment a dangerous rift with citizens it must place ‘fairness’ at the centre of all policy decisions for the future. As part of the ‘fairness’ policy the Minister for Health must not permit the cuts to home services which are vital to the people directly concerned and to their carers who must not have further unbearable pressure placed on them,” Harkin concluded.