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Call for new Government to appoint dedicated Minister for Older People

The new Government, should appoint a dedicated Minister for Older People with “cross departmental and societal reach”, the President of the Irish Gerontological Society (IGS) has told the Medical Independent (MI).

As of 30 April Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael  were still discussing their new policy framework document as the basis to form a new government with other smaller political parties and independent TDs.

Dr Diarmuid O’Shea, Consultant Geriatrician at St Vincent’s University Hospital,Dublin, and President of the IGS told this newspaper that the Covid-19 pandemic is one “of many reasons” why the new Government should appoint a specific Minister for Older People separate from the Department of Health.

“Our new Government should appoint a dedicated Minister for Older People,” Dr O’Shea told MI on Tuesday 21 April.

“I think this should be a separate ministry [from the Department of Health] , however it is more important that it is not a shared position.  I think given how our population demographics are growing in the next 10 to 20 years, the diversity of areas older people in our society will be impacting on include finances, economics, social, health, transport, education – pigeon holing this ministry as a subsection of one department doesn’t make sense to me. 

“It should be a department of its own and we should plan for the future.”

Dr O’Shea also noted the ” central role played by the Older Person’s Clinical Programme in the HSE, led by Dr Siobhan Kennelly, will be key, but it will be in association with many other groups.”

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