I propose to take Questions Nos. 178, 184 and 186 together.
Homecare is an important support that enables older people to remain in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. It is also key for patient facilitating timely discharge from acute hospitals.
In 2018, 17.5 million home support hours were provided, 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 approximately 800,000 more hours of support will be provided than was provided last year.
The allocation of funding for home supports across the system, though significant, is finite and services must be delivered within the funding available. The HSE needs to ensure that the level of service provision is in line with their budget, delivery plan and the National Service Plan.
To achieve this the HSE must ensure that the total number of hours being provided does not exceed targeted level of 18.3 million hours. While this may impact on their ability to provide new or additional hours, it is in line with normal prudent management of the home support budget. There has been no change in policy.
It is not correct to say that no new clients will be allocated home help hours for the next five months. The allocation of new hours will be based on client’s needs and the resources available.
I have asked the HSE to reply to the operational elements The Deputy's questions.