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Home Care Packages

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 8 February 2022

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Questions (771)

Pádraig O'Sullivan


771. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if he will undertake a review of home support services to establish the reason that home care hours cannot be provided to vulnerable elderly persons who have had hours allocated to them by their medical support team; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6604/22]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Government is committed to improving community-based services, shifting care to the home and offering greater choice for older people. €150 million of additional funding was secured for 2021 to provide 5 million more hours and I'm pleased to say that the funding for this has been maintained into 2022. Preliminary information available indicates that about 2.9 million more hours were delivered by end December compared to the same period in 2020.

Delays can arise between funding approval and the delivery of home supports hours. Certain regions are experiencing increased pressures due to staff availability.

I am engaged with stakeholders in home support and nursing homes on issues of recruitment and retention, with multiple meetings held with such groups in recent months.

Work is also ongoing within the Department to progress the establishment of a Cross Departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group, as a matter of priority in early 2022.

The role of the group will be to facilitate the views of stakeholders and examine any strategic workforce challenges in front-line carer roles in home support and nursing homes.

Potential areas to be considered include recruitment, retention, training, and the career development of front-line carers in home support and nursing homes into the future.

Prior to establishing the group, the Department is completing a short-life scoping exercise which is currently underway. A ‘call for submissions’ issued to relevant national stakeholders in early December, with a closing date for receipt of submissions of 7th January 2022.

The request for submissions is a critical first step to set out current challenges and to gather initial data and evidence to support the scoping, nature, and extent of the challenges, in advance of the Department bringing relevant stakeholders together in a structured process.

Subject to the scoping exercise, it is expected that the pay and conditions for these workers, will also likely be considered.

The Department’s project team is currently analysing the submissions received which is informing the setting up of the Group and next steps, including Terms of Reference and membership of the Group.