Wednesday, 15 June 2022
Department of Health
Home Care Packages
231. To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the introduction of the homecare-based policies in Sláintecare; if these policies will be supported by the HSE’s process of tendering for service provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31337/22]
The Programme for Government agreed in 2020 commits the government to ‘Introduce a statutory scheme to support people to live in their own homes, which will provide equitable access to high-quality, regulated home care’.
Consequently, work is on-going within the Department of Health to progress the development of the new statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-support services. Taking place 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.
In April 2021, Government gave approval 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. Development of regulations and quality standards are at an advanced level and public consultation on these draft minimum requirements is planned for Q2 2022.
In addition, work is ongoing in relation to the development of a reformed model of service delivery for the new scheme. In 2021, funding was secured for the Health Service Executive to: (i) progress the roll-out of interRAI as the standard assessment tool for care-needs in the community; (ii) pilot a reformed model of service-delivery for home-support; and (iii) establish a National Office for Home Support Services.
The Pilot for testing of a reformed model of service for the delivery for home-support is fully operational. It commenced in November in CHO 8, which is the first of the four pilot sites. The three other sites CHO2, CHO 4 and CHO 7 became operational in January 2022. Funding has been approved for 128 interRAI Care Needs Facilitators to progress the national rollout of interRAI as the standard assessment tool for care-needs. The interRAI outputs and pilot site evaluation will be critical to the development of the new home-support scheme. Plans are progressing to establish a National Home Support Office to be located in Tullamore. The HSE are currently undertaking a recruitment process for a number of key posts to support and enable the establishment of this office.
With regard to your question if the homecare policies will be supported by the HSE’s process of tendering for service provision, this is an operational issue and has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to you.