Summary of the Commitments made for Family Carers in Election 2016
With only days to go until the General Election on February 26th, Family Carers Ireland has examined the manifestos of the main political parties and what they are promising to do for Family Carers if elected to the next Dáil*. We have also written to each of the parties asking them to confirm their position in relation to publishing phase two of the National Carers’ Strategy with adequate funds to implement a clear action plan for 2016-2021.
Position on Publishing Phase 2 of the National Carers’ Strategy
• Increase Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit by €20 per week by 2021
• Standardise the delivery of home care services
• Involve family carers in care planning together with more accessible training and respite
• Increase home help provision by 2.2 million hours
• Increase the number of Home Care Packages
• Develop new technologies and solutions to help people remain independent in their home
• Increase funding to the Housing Adaptation Scheme to €66m by 2021.
• Ensure a 50 percent increase in the number of home-help hours by 2021
• Ensure supports for carers increase at least in line with inflation
• Continue to implement the National Carers’ Strategy
• Support those recovering from illness to return to their own homes
• Move towards a system of individualised budgeting for care services.
• Roll-out a single assessment tool for older people including a detailed Carers Needs Assessment.
• Doubling the Home Carer Tax Credit
• Abolition of prescription charges
• Rebalancing the health service towards primary care
• Investment in homecare packages including an increase in the number of intensive home care packages for people with dementia
• Restoration of Housing Adaptation Grants
• Introduction of an ‘Independent Living Contract’ for older people.
• Increase investment in disability services, mental health, personal assistant hours and respite services.
• Automatic full Medical Card to every child qualifying for Domiciliary Care Allowance and a secure Medical Card for people with disabilities.
• Support those returning to care for elderly relatives by changing the Habitual Residence Condition.
• Increase funding for the Housing Adaption Grant Scheme by an additional €47.25 million – an increase of 50%.
• Increase Disability Allowance by €20 per week.
• Increase Fuel Allowance by 3 weeks.
• Establish a Social Welfare Adequacy Commission to recommend appropriate social welfare levels on an annual basis.
People Before Profit Alliance
• Full restoration of a universal right to a Medical Card for those over 70.
• Increase home help hours and home care packages.
• Develop primary care centres and encourage greater use of care in the community.
• Restore the bereavement grand of €850
• Give people with disabilities the right to choose the services which best meet their needs and ensure their right to live as an autonomous adult.
• Introduce workable schemes to replace the mobility and transport grants
• Abolish prescription charges
• Increase funding for Mental Health and Disability Services
• Implement ‘Vision for Change’ staffing recommendations.
• Introduce a model of preventative medicine which will pay for itself in the longer term.
• End cuts to health service funding and jobs and reopen closed wards. Reach targets of 15,000 beds as specified by the 2001 Health Strategy.
• Recognise the importance of informal carers and the billions they save the state each year by removing the habitual residency condition for those with previous PRSI contributions
• Reform and extend the Fair Deal scheme to cover home-care packages
• Assess applications for the over 70s Medical Card on the net income of the applicant
• Allow older people in areas with poor transport to exchange their free travel pass for “travel vouchers”, in the same manner as the UK’s Rural Transport Voucher scheme
• Commit to delivering all aspects of the 2006 ‘Vision for Change’ strategy.
• Community centres and primary care centres used more intensively along with community care facilities and home care packages to keep senior citizens out of general hospitals.
• Expansion of local access to multi-disciplinary primary care services and movement of patients to social care facilities and home care packages when they have long-term conditions.
• Provide home care package funding for carers who help the elderly to remain in their homes.
• HIQA to ensure that home care providers meet the highest standards.
• A new system of property tax which will benefit community based care for the elderly
• Rollout of intelligent devices and wearable technology to all elder citizens
*Only parties with three TDs in the outgoing Dáil are included.