Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Questions (719)

John Lahart


719. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the status of the development of a statutory home care scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11010/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A high-quality, consistent home-support service, focused on keeping people well in their homes and communities for as long as possible, is a key enabler to ensuring that people across a continuum of care get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. In this regard, my Department is in the process of developing a statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-support.

Work is on-going within the Department to determine the optimal approach to the development of the new scheme within the broader context of the on-going reform of Ireland’s health and social care system, as envisaged in the Sláintecare Report. This work encompasses the development of the regulatory framework for the new scheme; the examination of the options for the financing model for the scheme; and the development of a reformed model of service-delivery.

The Sláintecare Implementation Plan commits to the establishment of the statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home support services by the end of 2021. Work planned in 2020, including the planned testing of a reformed model of service delivery, was adversely affected due to the impact of COVID-19 on delivery mechanisms for home support and the requirement for the diversion of resources to deal with COVID-19. This has had an impact on the final timeline.

The successful development of this scheme is an ambitious programme of reform and is a key priority for me and the Minister for Health. In order to accelerate this work, the Department is working closely with the HSE to ensure that the required resourcing including personnel, governance structures and other requisite resources are scaled up to ensure that significant progress is achieved by the end of 2021.

Within this context funding was secured in 2021 for the HSE to progress the roll out of InterRAI as the standard assessment for care needs in the community, the testing of a reformed model of service delivery for home support services and the establishment of a National Office for Home Support Services. All of the work throughout 2021 will progress the development of a reformed model of service delivery to underpin the statutory scheme.

In parallel, the increased investment in home support services in 2021 will contribute to meeting the Programme for Government commitment to providing equitable access to home care