Tuesday, 5 October 2021
Department of Health
Home Care Packages
560. To ask the Minister for Health if the concept of a statutory homecare support has progressed; the terms on which the pilot scheme was made available; if an evaluation of the pilot scheme has been completed [47540/21]
Enabling people with care-needs to continue to live independently at home for as long as possible is a priority for the Government. To advance this, the Government is committed to establishing a new, statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-support services, which the Department of Health is currently developing.
It is intended that the new scheme will provide equitable and transparent access to high-quality services based on a person’s assessed care-needs. Work is on-going within the Department to progress the development of the new scheme within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms. This work encompasses the development of the regulatory framework for the new scheme; the examination of the options for the financing model for the scheme; and the development of a reformed model of service-delivery for home support services.
With the aim of ensuring that all service-users are provided with a standard, high-quality level of care which is safe, effective, and person-centred, it is envisaged that the regulatory framework will comprise (i) primary legislation for the licensing of public and private home support providers; (ii) minimum requirements (regulations); and HIQA National Standards for Home Support Services.
Government gave approval earlier this year to draft a General Scheme and Heads of a Bill to establish a licensing framework for home support providers. This is being progressed by the Department with a view to bringing it through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the earliest opportunity. It is expected that the primary legislation will give the Minister for Health the power to make regulations in respect of minimum requirements which will form the criteria against which a provider’s eligibility to hold a licence will be determined.
In parallel to this, work is ongoing in relation to the development of a reformed model of service delivery for home support. Within this context, funding was allocated in 2021 for the HSE to progress the roll-out of interRAI as the standard assessment tool for care-needs in the community; the pilot of a reformed model of service-delivery for home-support; and the establishment of a National Office for Home Support Services.
The pilot of a reformed model of service-delivery is expected to commence in November and will deliver an additional 230,000 hours of home-support in four community healthcare network (CHN) sites over a six-month period. The pilot sites are: (CHO 2) Tuam, Athenry and Loughrea (CHO 4) Bandon, Kinsale and Carrigaline (CHO 7) Ballyfermot and Palmerstown (CHO 8) East Westmeath. The pilot is expected to last 6 months. The evaluation will capture the key findings of the project, which will inform the development of the service-delivery model for the new scheme. In addition, approximately 130 posts have been funded for the national rollout of the interRAI Ireland system as the standard assessment tool for care-needs.
The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy and Action Plan 2021–2023commits to the advancement of the development of the new home-support scheme in 2021 and to the commencement of its implementation in 2022. While the new home-support scheme is under development, the Government is prioritising improving access to home-support services. As part of Budget 2021, funding for an additional 5 million hours of home-support was provided. This increased investment will contribute to meeting the Programme for Governmentcommitment to providing equitable access to home-support services.