Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 10 February, 2005

Written Answers - Care of the Elderly.

  49. Mr. Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of reported cases of abuse of older persons in their homes or in long stay residential care since 1 January 2000; and if she has satisfied herself that there are sufficient trained personnel available with the relevant knowledge to identify the different types of abuse and, therefore, protect highly vulnerable older persons. [4223/05]

  Mr. S. Power: As the Deputy may be aware, the report of the working group on elder abuse, Protecting Our Future, was launched on 11 November 2002.

This report, in starting with a definition of elder abuse and recommending the putting in place of structures to deal with suspected cases, will hopefully give older people who feel they are the subject of abuse in any shape or form, the confidence to report their anxieties, as appropriate, to a social worker, a public health nurse, a member of the Garda Síochána or indeed any professional or care worker.

One of the recommendations in the elder abuse report is the establishment of a national implementation group and this group was established in December 2003 and has commenced its work.

In addition, funding of €800,000 was provided in 2003 to commence implementation of the elder abuse programme. In 2004, an additional €75,000 was allocated to each health board for its continued implementation, including the appointment of case workers, and this year an additional €900,000 has been allocated for the elder abuse programme.

The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. This includes responsibility for the implementation of the elder abuse programme. Accordingly, my Department has requested the chief officers of the executive’s areas to reply directly to the Deputy about the specific matters raised.

[1088] Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 31.