Seanad debates

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Home Help Service

2:30 pm

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

I accept the Senator's point about carers. Home supports enable older people and people with disabilities to live as independently as possible, as well as facilitating timely discharge from hospital. The Government has made improved access to home support services a priority in the budget. In 2020 an additional investment of €52 million is being made which will provide over 19.2 million hours of home support. That is a crucial investment.

To respond on the two issues raised by the Senator, having a dedicated timeframe is a sensible proposal which I will convey to the HSE and the Department of Health. If we are putting in €52 million and providing 19.2 million hours, we must see results and a timeframe for families and carers. That is something I will include in the follow-up on this matter. While the home support service is delivering crucial support for many throughout the country, we accept that it has to be improved to meet the changing needs of citizens, including the complex needs mentioned by the Senator. Because this is a debate I have in the disability sector, I like the way the Senator spoke about the two categories - family carers and those who do not have any family member at all. I have the same problem with adults with intellectual disabilities. I have to bring those who receive no home support to the top of the queue when it comes to fighting for funding.While the administration of the scheme will be centralised, the delivery of services will be co-ordinated at a local level in line with the person's assessment of need. A core component of the scheme and testing phase will be the implementation of interRAI as a standardised system tool for determining need under the new scheme.

With regard to the Senator's remarks about bullying, bullying is unacceptable in any service, whether a service for those with a disability or a service for senior citizens. We cannot tolerate it. When people have legitimate complaints, they have to feel free and relaxed about making such a complaint. This is particularly true for people who are looking for services relating to care, disabilities, or senior citizens. Those are very important things. That is a second issue on which I will return to the HSE in order to see what is going on on the ground in some places.


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