A temporary staff shortage in a Cavan town day centre has resulted in its services only being available those with access to their own transport has been branded "a disgrace and an insult to the elderly and vulnerable people" by a Sinn Fein councillor.
It has emegerd that the HSE has been temporarily unable to secure a driver to ferry elderly service users to and from the Lisdarn day care centre. The HSE expect the problem to be resolved in the coming weeks.
Responding to a parliamentary question from Cavan-Monaghan TD, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on whether there were staffing issues at the Lisdarn unit and if its future was secure, Leo Kinsella, area manager for HSE Cavan and Monaghan said:
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are currently experiencing some difficulties in relation to providing a driver to escort the Clients to and from the service.
"Alternative measures are being explored to facilitate the transport of Clients, however, the service is being maintained in the interim for Clients that can provide their own transport into and from the facility. We expect normal service to resume in the next fortnight. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."
Cavan town councillor Brian McKeown says that it is reflective of an inadequate health budget.
“This is a disgrace and an insult to the elderly and vulnerable people who depend upon this service in County Cavan.
“This serves as recognition of the fact that our health system was underfunded from the outset to deliver the services required. It highlights the recklessness of the cuts introduced by the minister and successive Governments.
“The failures of management and resourcing of our health system now means there is only access to care for patients who can provide their own transport, if only for the next fortnight. This failure to provide equality and efficiency in our health and elder services in County Cavan is leaving vulnerable patients without access to vital services upon which they heavily rely.
“Without these activities, many older people receive no social interaction. In many cases, a visit to a day centre provides the personal care that many older people are incapable of taking care of alone. Even two weeks without access to these services is detrimental for an elderly person who relies on these services.
“Any decent society needs to protect its most vulnerable and I am deeply worried that this staffing issue could only be the tip of the iceberg in maintaining the provision of elderly services at Lisdarn Unit. The HSE and the Minister need to ensure there is no repeat of this situation and they need to clarify of there is a threat to the provision of these services into the future”.