Home supports enable older people, as the Deputy is aware, to remain in their own homes and communities, as well as facilitating timely discharge from hospital. The latest preliminary information available to me indicates that at the end of October, 1,424 people were in receipt of home support and Cork Kerry community healthcare had provided 352,902 home help hours in the north Cork area in the year to date. In addition, 5,014 hours have been provided through intensive home care packages. At a national level, additional supports are being put in place as part of this year's winter plan, which will assist timely discharge from hospital, as well as improved access to home support in the community.
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 will deliver more than 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, where they want to be, 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 to 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 for 2020 has been submitted and is under consideration in my Department. The allocation of hours and targets to community healthcare organisations is currently under way and I have been advised that this will be finalised in the coming weeks.