Improving access to home support is a priority for Government. Over the past four years we have seen a considerable increase of nearly €140 million in the budget which has grown from €306 million in 2015 to almost €446 million in 2019. Over 53,000 people will receive more than 18 million home support hours this year, including intensive home care packages to 235 people.
Despite this significant level of service provision, the demand for home support continues to grow. The allocation of funding for home supports across the system, though significant, is finite and services must be delivered within the funding available.
Arrangements for home supports have developed over the years with a significant local focus although it is acknowledged that there may be a considerable variation in access to services in different parts of the country. There is also a considerable demand for home support services over and above existing service levels.
The HSE has assured the Department that those people who are on a waiting list are reviewed, as funding becomes available, to ensure that individual cases continue to be dealt with on a priority basis within the available resources and as determined by the local front line staff who know and understand the clients’ needs, and who undertake regular reviews of those care needs to ensure that the services being provided remain appropriate.
We are aiming to improve home support services so that people can remain living with confidence, dignity and security in their own homes. While the existing service is delivering crucial support across the country, it is recognised that home support services need to be augmented to better meet the changing needs of our older population. The Department is currently engaged in a detailed process to develop a new stand-alone, statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home support services.
The allocated Home support budget for Community Healthcare Organisation Area 7 is approximately €54.5m which is an increase of almost €6m on last year’s allocated budget and the HSE target is to deliver 2.1m hours to 6,192 people. As the allocation of home supports is is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.