Family Carers Ireland Bitterly Disappointed That Homecare Crisis Ignored in Budget 2019[09.10.2018] Family Carers Ireland is challenging the Finance Minister’s claim that Budget 2019 is a “caring budget”. We are bitterly disappointed that Government has ignored the current crisis in homecare with no significant changes announced to address this major issue amongst family carers in Ireland.
In his Budget 2019 speech, Minister Paschal Donohoe spoke of the steps the Government is taking action to increase the State’s “resilience” to economic shocks. Family Carers Ireland is questioning what the Government is doing to boost the resilience of struggling family carers.
Many carers in Ireland have reached breaking point because of the lack of supports available to them and their relentless battle with the system. They are overwhelmed by the isolation, ill-health, exhaustion and financial strain that caring for a loved one can bring.
Last week, a group of Ireland’s leading not for profit organisations and campaigners, including Family Carers Ireland, came together to highlight the urgent need for investment in homecare services pending the introduction of a statutory homecare scheme, calling for an additional €100 million investment in homecare in Budget 2019.
While Family Carers Ireland acknowledges the modest €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments to some carers, a €300 increase in the Home Carer Tax Credit, reduced prescription charges for over 70s, a €150 million increase in funding for disability services, €55 million in additional funding for mental health and an extra €20 million for the National Treatment Purchase Fund, there are many family carers who may not have seen any benefit from this budget. This is especially true for families juggling paid employment and a caring role, young carers and full time carers that are not in receipt of Carer’s Allowance due to means testing.
The organisation hears daily from carers who are housebound due to a lack of support, as well as carers who have collapsed due to exhaustion or who have had to refuse essential medical treatment for themselves because they can’t find replacement care for loved ones.
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland, said:
“We are bitterly disappointed that the Government has ignored the most important issues in our pre-budget submission focusing on carers in crisis. It is evident that carers are under-supported and have difficulty accessing the services they desperately need, in particular respite care to give them a much-needed break. A post-code lottery of services exists whereby where you live determines whether you will receive supports or not. To add to this, we have seen home supports cut significantly over the last 9 years alongside a greater number of people requiring care.”
Family Carers Ireland provides a range of services for family carers through its 26 resource centres nationwide.