I propose to take Questions Nos. 411 and 412 together.
Home supports enable older people to remain in their own homes and communities, as well as facilitating timely discharge from hospital. In line with Programme for Government commitments we have made improved access to home support services a priority. We have committed to an additional investment of €52 million in Budget 2020 for home supports and next year the HSE aims to deliver over 19.2 million hours of home support. This represents a substantial increase of 1 million hours more than this year’s target.
This investment is focused on enabling older people to remain at home and reducing the current waiting lists for the service being experienced in almost all areas. As appropriate, provision of hours will also be targeted at times of peak demand in Winter 2019-2020, at the beginning and end of the year, to ensure more timely egress from hospital for our older citizens.
The HSE National Service Plan 2020 has been submitted and is under consideration in my Department. The allocation of hours and targets to Community Healthcare Organisations is currently underway and I have been advised that this will be finalised in the coming weeks.
The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy commits to the introduction of a statutory homecare scheme by the end of 2021. As part of this, work is on-going to determine the optimal approach to the development of the scheme within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms and in 2019 and 2020 work is focusing on the design of the scheme, the options for regulation, financing and a review of existing services, which is ongoing. Stakeholder consultation and engagement will continue throughout the development of the new scheme.
Of the additional €52m allocated in Budget 2020 for home support services, a proportion of this funding will be used to test a reformed model of service delivery in 2020 at pilot sites. My Department is currently working with the HSE to identify the pilot sites and to agree the approach to testing.