Written answers

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Department of Health

Home Care Packages

Photo of Aindrias MoynihanAindrias Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

207. To ask the Minister for Health the measures being considered in relation to current difficulties of those in need of homecare packages; the engagement he has had to date with the relevant stakeholders on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59484/21]

Photo of Mary ButlerMary Butler (Waterford, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Government has prioritised improved access to home support services.

Work is ongoing within the Department of Health to progress the development of the new statutory scheme to support people to live in their own homes within the broader context of the Sláintecare reforms.

Recruitment of the 130 posts funded for the national rollout of interRAI as the standard assessment tool for care needs is scheduled to commence in this quarter. In addition, a National Home Support Office is in the process of being established. The testing of the reformed model of service delivery for home support commenced this month ?in one pilot site, with other pilot sites to be fully operational by January 2022.

A comprehensive and robust operational model for the rollout of interRAI has been developed which will facilitate effective, efficient, fair, and transparent care needs assessment and planning and appropriate service delivery. The interRAI outputs and pilot site evaluation will be critical to the development of the new home support scheme.

Last year additional funding of €150 million was secured for home support to progress the development of a reformed model of service delivery to underpin the statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-support services and to provide 5 million additional hours of home support. The HSE National Service Plan sets a target to provide 24 million hours of home support this year and it is estimated that at the end of September some 15 million hours had been provided to over 53,000 people. This is about 2.2 million more hours compared to the same period last year.

The funding secured in Budget 2021 to provide these additional 5 million hours has been maintained for 2022.

Significant inroads have been achieved in reducing waiting lists for funding approval for new or additional service from over 7,800 in January 2020 to just under 400 last September. This has been achieved through a combination of validation of the waiting list and availability of funding to address those waiting.

However, there is a delay between the approval of funding and the delivery of home support hours and the numbers of people in this category have increased steadily this year. At the end of September 2021, there were 4,933 people assessed and waiting for a carer to become available, in January 2020 there was about 1,300 people in this category. Certain areas that are experiencing increased pressures, due to workforce availability, are particularly affected. Despite the increase, it is important to note that the total number of people waiting for home support across both categories has reduced from over 9,000 at the start of 2020 to approximately 5,300 at the end of September.

The HSE is aware that there are increasing capacity issues across both direct and indirect provision, and it continues to advertise on an ongoing basis for Health Care Assistants and recruits as many suitable candidates, where possible. The HSE conducts its recruitment through a variety of channels both locally and nationally.

Due to the nature of Healthcare Support Assistants posts, this recruitment is normally conducted at a very local level and is on-going continually across the HSE. Approved Home Support Providers also continue to recruit home support workers.

I have engaged with industry stakeholders to discuss issues surrounding recruitment and retention of workforce to meet the ongoing demands caused by the pandemic and the longer-term health care requirements of our population.

In addition to this engagement, I am committed to establishing a Cross Departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group. The role of the group will be to facilitate the views of stakeholders and examine workforce challenges in home support and nursing homes. Potential areas to be considered include recruitment, retention, training, and the career development of home support and nursing home workers into the future.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.