There has been no cut in funding for home support. In 2018, the total budget for home support services was €416.8 million, which provided 17.5 million home support hours, including hours provided as part of an Intensive Home Care Package.
This year, in accordance with its National Service Plan, the HSE intends to provide 17.9 million home support hours to 53,000 people and a further 360,000 hours through intensive home care packages to 235 people. This means that in 2019 a further almost €30 million has been included in the home support budget and approximately 800,000 more hours of support will be provided throughout 2019. Despite this significant level of service provision, the demand for home support continues to grow. It is important to note that capital budgets relating to projects such as infrastructure projects are separate to current budgets relating to service delivery.
At the end of March there were 52,360 people in receipt of home support. During the first quarter of the year 4.2 million hours were delivered nationally, 4,411 new clients commenced the service and 6,238 people have been assessed and are waiting for either new or additional home support services. This is about 220 less than for the same period in 2018.
Home Support services are delivered by either HSE directly employed staff, or by staff employed by approved providers who have met the HSE requirements, and specifications, through a tender process for the delivery of Home Support Services. As services have developed the HSE has undertaken a comprehensive modernisation and improvement of home support services to better meet the needs of service users. The HSE and unions have been engaged over the past number of years in a comprehensive negotiation process, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and in line with the public service agreement with a view to implementing an overall package of measures to improve the service for service users and for the staff delivering those services.