100 elderly in hospital wait for care beds
A TOTAL of 100 elderly patients are stuck in acute beds in Dublin's Beaumont Hospital while they wait for a bed in a nursing home.
There are currently more than 500 elderly people around the country waiting for applications for nursing homes to be processed by the HSE under the Fair Deal scheme.
Deputy Tommy Broughan called for immediate action after he obtained the figures from Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch.
The Deputy stressed that the whole area of Fair Deal applications "needs to be expedited" as this was impacting on the availability of beds in acute hospitals.
"These citizens deserve to be treated with dignity and respect but it seems the health services are not providing adequate care in this regard," he said.
Deputy Broughan says he is concerned at the distress to the families of these elderly people and the "knock-on effect for patients coming into hospital emergency departments and needing a bed".
The Minister indicated that the average waiting time was 25 days but Mr Broughan said the delay is much longer.
"It is likely that some elderly citizens and people with long-term serious care needs are waiting even longer periods in hospital wards before they are placed in suitable long term care," said Mr Broughan.
He hit out at "vulnerable elderly citizens being neglected by this government" and said it came against a backdrop of more constituents voicing concerns about recent cuts to medical card eligibility and the increase in prescription charges.
Minister Lynch said the total budget for long-term residential care this year was €974m and all applicants approved for funding were put on a list "in chronological order by date of determination of their application".
She added that according to the latest figures available from the HSE up to the end of September, there were 523 people on the placement list with an average waiting time of 25 days.
Deputy Broughan also asked the Minister to provide information on the number of patients in hospital wards across the country waiting for a nursing home bed under the Fair Deal scheme.
She told him the figures would be provided by the HSE once they had been compiled.