Deputy Catherine Connolly said the situation that has emerged post-Covid in relation of the number of respite beds available in the city and county, along with a list of people waiting for home care, is of great concern. In response to a specific Dáil question, Deputy Connolly was informed that pre-Covid there were 25 respite beds available in the city and county including 12 in Merlin Park. Post-Covid, there are now only 4 respite beds available. Indeed, the number at Merlin Park has gone from 12 to 2, the Aran Islands has gone from 2 to 0, Carraroe has gone from 2 to 0, and Clifden District Hospital has gone from 4 to 2. Moreover, in reply to a separate Dáil question tabled by Deputy Connolly, it was confirmed that 278 people approved for home care support services were on a waiting list.
The crisis in both areas has arisen primarily due to lack of staff, and also due to HIQA registration requirements. It is just not acceptable to let waiting lists build up and continuously increase the burden on family carers and or hospital beds said Deputy Connolly, adding that we need urgent action from the Health Services Executive West to deal with this crisis which is putting an intolerable strain on families.
As well as tabling a range of Dáil questions, Deputy Connolly has also raised this matter on the floor of the Dáil and will continue to do so. She will also be closely monitoring the proposal by the Health Services Executive West to increase the number of respite beds there. To date, what has been announced, is a vague commitment to further respite beds with absolutely no time schedule.