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SAGE ADVOCACY WARNS THAT BUDGET 2021 MAY NOT ARREST CRISIS IN SOCIAL CARE SERVICES October 13, 2020

Sage Advocacy welcomes many of the Budget spending plans for 2021, in particular the extra €4 billion allocated to the health service, but it remains acutely concerned that Budget 2021 may fall short of arresting the current crisis in social care services.

The national charity, which provides a support and advocacy service for vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients, said the social care system was already buckling under pressure before Covid-19 became a factor.

Sarah Lennon, Executive Director of Sage Advocacy, said: “We acknowledge that the Government has been responsive within the constraints of both Covid-19 and Brexit and outlined an unprecedented spending programme.

“Its commitment to expand capacity and to develop resilience in the health service is welcome and investing €38 million in the national mental health strategy and €100 million in new disability measures next year will also make a significant difference as will €5 million for community based dementia services.

“But despite the additional allocations in the budget our chief concern is whether this will be enough to meet the growing demand that exists for services?

“We know from our advocacy work that there is a rapidly increasing demand for homecare packages – 5 million homecare hours may initially seem like an impressive figure but the reality is that there are a growing number of older people who need some level of additional care. Many families are also struggling to cope because day care centres have not re-opened.

“The impact of Covid- 19 has focused attention on the nursing home sector and reinforced many people's opinion that they want to enjoy living their lives in their own homes and communities. Budget 2021 may not facilitate this for everyone.”

Sage Advocacy believes that Budget 2021 could have gone further but the organisation is pleased that it has delivered on many issues that will benefit the families and people it helps.

Ms Lennon added: “We’re also delighted that €10 million has been allocated to the Covid-19 Stability Fund for community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises.”

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