THERE was a 37% increase in the number of Cork people waiting for nursing home finance support schemes over a two-week period last month, it has been revealed.
HSE figures obtained by Fianna Fáil show that, on September 17, 54 people in Cork were waiting for the Fair Deal Scheme, which offers financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home.
By September 30, the number of Corkonians awaiting the scheme had risen to 74.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler, fears the number of people waiting for placement under the Fair Deal scheme will rise sharply with the onset of winter.
Nationally, the number of people waiting for Fair Deal support rose from 525 on September 17 to 686 on September 30 - an increase of more than 30%.
“This is an alarming escalation in a very short period of time, and points to serious issues within the system,” said Deputy Butler. “I am fearful that this is a sign of things to come as winter draws closer.”
The figures come just weeks after it was revealed there has been a 67% rise in the number of Cork people awaiting funding for home support in the past four months, another scheme aimed at keeping people out of acute hospitals and in the community setting.
In March, 119 Corkonians were awaiting funding for the service which allows people to avail of healthcare services in their home. This had risen by almost 70% to 365 by the end of July, according to figures obtained by Fianna Fáil. A total of 148 people in West Cork are awaiting home support along with 92 in North Lee, 88 in South Lee and 37 in North Cork.
The figures led to calls from the Lord Mayor of Cork city, Dr John Sheehan (FF), for increased funding for the support scheme which he said is the most cost-effective within the health system.