The number of people seeking home support in Cork more than doubled in just one month.
Information obtained by Fianna Fáil shows that the number of Cork people waiting on the service rose from 117 in April this year to 256 by the end of May.
The number of those waiting in the South Lee rose from 29 to 85 while waiting lists in West Cork saw an increase of 40 people; 21 in North Cork; and 13 in North Lee.
Despite the increase in those awaiting the service, the HSE managed to increase its hours allocated in the region by almost 200,000 in the same period.
Nationally, the number of people seeking home help increased by 500 to 6,819 in one month.
“All of this points to a real crisis in health service provision for older people,” said Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler.
“I am also concerned that the number of home help hours is way behind schedule.
Almost 7.2 million home support hours were provided to the end of May, according to the latest figures - a monthly average of around 1.4 million.
“On a 12-month basis this would mean 17,179,060 hours should be provided this year – over 700,000 short of what Fine Gael promised this year,” said Deputy Butler.
Meanwhile, the number of Corkonians seeking funding for the Fair Deal scheme, which would allow them to move into nursing homes, rose from 89 on June 7 this year, to 98 just three weeks later.
Nationally, the Fair Deal waiting list saw a 16% jump in three weeks.
“A 16% increase in the Fair Deal waiting list over three weeks in June is extraordinary to say the least,” added Deputy Butler.
“The last thing we need is a repeat of what happened in 2014 when the numbers waiting for a nursing home placement went from 654 in February of that year to 2,114 by the following October.
“If the rate of increase we have seen over three June weeks continues, well over 1,000 people will be waiting by September,” she predicted.
“Minister Daly needs to get on top of this.
“The crisis in older people’s service whether at home or in residential care needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.” Speaking in the Dail recently, Minister of State for the Elderly and Cork TD, Jim Daly claimed there was an additional €10m euro investment in the home help service this year and that new respite facilities are at an advanced stage.
A spokesperson for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare told The Echo it is providing more home support to more people in 2019 than in 2018.
“However the increase in numbers waiting shows that demand for the service is constantly increasing,” she added.
“The funding provided to Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is managed very carefully to try and ensure that waiting lists are kept to a minimum.
In most cases, where people are waiting, they are waiting for additional hours as they are already in receipt of some hours.
“The allocation of any new hours is based on a person’s need and the available resources.” The spokesperson added that the assumption the HSE will under-deliver on its 2019 target for home help hours depends on the allocation of hours being equal every month.
“In reality, more hours are allocated to certain periods when demand may be higher,” she said.
“Cork Kerry Community Healthcare has delivered more hours that its target for 2019 and expect this to continue.”