The Department of Health is currently engaged in the development of a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services. In preparation for the development of the statutory scheme, the Department commissioned the Health Research Board to carry out a review of the home-care systems in four European countries. In addition, the Department conducted a public consultation on home-care services, on which a report was published in 2018. These reports are available on the Department’s website and will help to ensure that the new scheme is informed both by international experience and by the views of stakeholders, including service-users.
Work is on-going to determine the optimal approach to the development of the statutory scheme within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms. The Department’s Sláintecare Implementation Strategy commits to the introduction of the statutory scheme in 2021. In 2019 work will focus on the design of the scheme, the options for regulation and a review of existing services. Further consultation will also be undertaken in 2019 (with key stakeholders and service-users) and will continue throughout the process of developing the new scheme.
The development of a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-support services is a complex process. Accordingly, it will be early 2020 before it is possible to set out in principle the parameters of the scheme and to seek Government approval to proceed to draft the heads of a bill.