Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Ceisteanna (56)

Bernard Durkan


56. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the extent to which adequate provision has been made in respect of home care packages, with particular reference to the need to concentrate on home care, thereby alleviating the pressure on hospital bed spaces; if comparisons have been made to achieve best or most effective and efficient practice or both nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48820/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (4 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Health)

My question relates to a well-known subject. What provision has been made for home care packages to alleviate the burden on hospital beds and accident and emergency departments?

This year’s HSE winter plan was launched on 14 November 2019. Its aim is to ensure that service providers are prepared for the additional external pressures associated with the winter period. The plan is supported by an additional €26 million in winter funding, which is being used to relieve demand for emergency department services, and to support discharge and other initiatives to help hospitals deal with the challenges associated with winter. Specifically, the winter funding will support access to the nursing homes support scheme, home support, transitional care, aids and appliances and other local actions to both facilitate timely hospital discharges and reduce congestion in emergency departments over the winter period.

The Government is investing an additional €52 million in budget 2020 for home support services and next year, the HSE aims to provide over 19.2 million hours, which is 1 million hours more than this year’s target. The investment is focused on enabling older people to remain at home and, as appropriate, provision of hours will also be targeted at times of peak demand at the beginning and end of the year to ensure more timely egress from hospital for older people.

The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to a timely review of the management, operation and funding of national home help services. In fulfilment of this commitment and to enhance the evidence base for the development of the statutory home support scheme, the Department has recently commissioned a review of the management, operation and funding of existing home support service provision. Focusing on the home support services currently funded and provided by the HSE, the findings of this review will ensure that the statutory scheme builds on emerging good practice. Additional funding has been provided in budget 2020 for the testing of the new statutory home support scheme. This investment is a vital step towards the development of the scheme in line with Sláintecare.

I thank the Minister of State for his reply. Have comparisons been made between hospitals and community care areas throughout the regions as to the most effective and efficient method of delivering the services required by the public?

A national committee is looking into the issue of delayed discharges, which would include this particular topic. Information will feed into that committee from each of the nine community healthcare organisations, CHOs. Best practice will always be identified and replicated across the system.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.