The Family Carers Ireland National Carers’ Strategy Scorecard 2017 was launched this morning in Buswells Hotel, Dublin. The 2017 progress report gives a comprehensive insight into the decline and improvements for family carers compared to 2016. Family Carers Ireland is disappointed with the rate of improvement for many vital services family carers desperately need such as respite, suitable housing and transport.
With 42 strategic actions designated to the relevant Government departments, the scorecard reveals that although there has been an overall improvement in the progress reported, it states that nine actions received ‘No Progress’ and three actions received a ‘Regressive’ score.
2017 did deliver some benefits for family carers such as the allocation of €500,000 Dormant Accounts funding for information and training supports, an additional €10m in funding towards respite supports for people with disabilities and the announcement that carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit will receive a GP Visit Card. Despite this, many crucial services have not yet been improved compared to the National Carers’ Strategy Scorecard 2016.
The National Carers’ Strategy Scorecard 2017 states that:
- Access to respite continues to be a huge problem for carers with criteria based on the nature of the person’s condition and where they live rather than need.
- Home care remains underfunded with a postcode lottery remaining a strong barrier blocking families from accessing supports.
- There are an increasing number of carers and people with disabilities on the social housing waiting list and at risk of homelessness.
- There is a reduction in home care supports when a family member is a recipient of Carer’s Allowance.
Family carer Lynnmarie Galvin spoke about her housing needs at the launch today. She cares for her daughter Jessica who has Rett syndrome.
“I am battling to bring my daughter Jessica, who is terminally ill, home from hospital. She is medically fit for discharge, has been awarded a home care package but cannot go home because our house is inaccessible. I cannot bathe Jessica downstairs as I do not have an accessible bathroom. No care company will provide a package of care in our current house which is rented. We need a house with a downstairs accessible bathroom which will allow us to bring Jessica home to be with her family where she wants to be and where we want her.”
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland said:
“It is crucial that we see an improvement on each of these 42 strategic actions year on year. These improvements are vital to the well-being of the 355,000 family carers in Ireland. We are calling on Government to introduce a new refreshed and ring-fenced funded National Carers’ Strategy which eliminates the current postcode lottery of supports and services for family carers and has a real and positive impact on family carers’ lives.”
Family carers continue to prop up an inadequate health system and save the State €10bn a year. An increasing amount of people are taking on caring roles. Today one in 10 people provides care for a loved one in the home; by 2030 demographic changes predict that one in five people will take on a caring role.