[23.07.2019] New research published today provides further evidence that a postcode lottery exists for family carers whereby where you live determines what supports you can or cannot access. It also reinforces Family Carers Ireland’s call for a €110 million increase in the home supports budget in Budget 2020.
The ESRI report on the supply of ten primary and community care services in 2014 finds that the “considerable” regional inequalities cannot be explained on the basis of need. It also warns that this situation is likely to persist, meaning that the Sláintecare aim of delivering the majority of care at or closer to home is being completely undermined.
Family carers in Dublin South, Clare, Waterford, Kildare, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Wicklow, Kilkenny and Mayo are particularly impacted by the postcode lottery in the provision of home care hours for those aged 65+, with supply at least 10 per cent below the national average.
The report also highlights huge inconsistencies in the supply of medical professionals that family carers rely on including GPs, community and public health nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, counsellors and psychologists. Blackspots include Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford and Clare.
Reacting to the findings, Family Carers Ireland’s Head of Communications & Carer Engagement Catherine Cox said:
“We have urgently called on Government to address the postcode lottery that exists for supports and services in the community for family carers by implementing our Carers Guarantee proposal which would provide access to vital supports (including emergency respite) in the community. We also need to see immediate investment in home care to the tune of an additional € 110 million per annum to keep pace with the current demand for home help hours. Our recently published research titled “Paying the Price” shows that the situation has gotten worse for carers in Ireland over the past 10 years – carers’ health, both physical and mental, has deteriorated as has access to respite, home care and vital therapies.
Notes to the Editor:
*The ESRI’s Geographic Profile of Healthcare Needs and Non-Acute Healthcare Supply in Ireland can be viewed here.
Family Carers Ireland’s pre-budget 2020 submission A Decade Lost can be viewed here.
Paying the Price: The Physical, Mental and Psychological Impact of Caring can be viewed here. This research was conducted by Family Carers Ireland in collaboration with the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland and UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems.