Seanad debates

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Commencement Matters

Home Care Packages Provision

2:30 pm

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin Bay North, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I thank Senator Ó Clochartaigh for raising this very important matter. I know that he is very passionate about health and disability services, particularly in his constituency in Galway but also nationally.

In the first instance, I wish to assure the Senator of the Government's commitment to providing services and supports to people with disabilities that will empower them to live independent lives, allow them greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in A Programme for a Partnership Government and is guided by two main principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life of all people with disabilities. One way in which the HSE is working to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities is through the provision of home support hours. One of the Senator's concerns relates to that particular issue. In the context of its service plan for 2016, the HSE's priority was to provide 2.6 million home support hours for over 7,300 people with disabilities. In reality, the actual number of home support hours provided in 2016 was higher, at 2.9 million hours. This reflects the responsive nature of the service and takes account of the fluctuation of assessed need over time as the needs of individuals change.

This year, the HSE has committed to maximise the provision of health and personal-social services, including home support services, within available resources.This year, the HSE has committed to maximising the provision of health and personal social services, including home support services, within available resources. As provided for in its national service plan for 2017, the HSE expects to deliver 2.75 million home support hours to over 7,400 people with a disability, an increase of 150,000 hours over last year's target. The goal is to help as many people as possible. This is a positive development which we can build on in years to come. I accept the Senator's point that we must build on it.

With regard to the matter raised, I am sure the Senator will understand my reluctance to comment here in any great detail about the specifics of any one case given the personal nature and circumstances of the matter. However, that does not mean we are not going to do anything. As the issue raised by the Senator is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive for a report on the case. The HSE has informed that the person concerned is in a high dependency unit in University Hospital Galway and is in need of 24-hour care. I understand from the HSE that it is in discussion with the family on the appropriate options for the person's discharge from the University Hospital Galway. The HSE community health care organisation for area 2, which covers Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, has assured me that it is actively engaging on an ongoing basis with the family with regard to the most suitable and appropriate care for the person.


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