Improving home-care services so that people can continue to live with confidence, dignity and security in their own homes for as long as possible is a key commitment of the Government. To support this, the Department of Health is currently engaged in the development of a new stand-alone statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-care. This will introduce clear rules in relation to the services for which individuals are eligible and in relation to service-allocation. It will therefore be an important step in ensuring that the system operates in a consistent and fair manner and will help to improve access to home-care services on an affordable and sustainable basis. The introduction of a system of regulation for home-care will help to ensure public confidence in the services provided.
The development of a new home care scheme is a complex undertaking which will involve significant legislative, operational and financial resources. A significant amount of detailed work remains to be undertaken before final decisions are taken on the form of a home care scheme and the regulation of these services. Work in relation to the cost of the new statutory scheme is ongoing as part of this process.
However, on the basis of current demand and demographic projections, it is likely that increased investment will be required to support the implementation of the new statutory scheme. The HSE home-care services budget for 2018 is €408 million, which it is anticipated will support the delivery of 17.094m hours of home support to 50,500 people. It is expected that there will be a significant increase in demand for home-care over the coming years. Furthermore home-care service-users have increasingly complex care-needs and there are sustained cost-pressures within the sector which are likely to inflate in the coming years.
In relation to the request for an estimated cost I have asked the HSE to correspond directly with the Deputy to advise on the cost of servicing the current wait list for Home Help and Home Care Packages under the rules of the current scheme.