Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (157)

Róisín Shortall


157. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the budget for home care services; the estimated cost in 2019 of the requirement to pay staff for travel time further to an EU directive; the estimated number of home care hours which will now not be funded as a result of this change; his plans to seek a supplementary budget to make up this shortfall; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24782/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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. 

This year, the budget for Home Support services is almost €446 million, an increase of approximately €30 million on the 2018 allocation. 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 were 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 levels. 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.  

I have asked the HSE to reply to the operational elements of the Deputy's question.