1M additional funded hours for home care welcomed by HCCI

1M additional funded hours for home care welcomed by Home and Community Care Ireland

Tuesday 8 October 2019: Today, Tuesday 8th October 2019, Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., announced an increase in home care funding.  Home care will receive an uplift from €436M in 2019 to approximately €481M in 2020.  In 2019, the HSE plans to deliver 18.2M hours.  This additional resource will allow the HSE to fund 19M hours in 2020.

The waiting list for home care, as of end May 2019, stood at 6,819 people[1].  Of these, 1,871 people are receiving some home care hours but require additional support.

Joseph Musgrave, Chief Executive of HCCI, said:

We welcome the announcement today from Minister Donohoe.  According to our figures, the current waiting list requires around €50M and 2M hours to fully clear.  If the HSE holds the cost of the home care service down, these extra hours will significantly cut that list and end uncertainty for thousands of vulnerable people. This is a hugely positive development and shows commitment from the Government and Opposition parties towards vulnerable people.  It is appreciated.

However, as our Pre-Budget Submission explained, the increased funding today will only begin to help clear the historic waiting list.  Ireland’s changing demographics mean that we are still in need of €93M in order to stop the waiting list starting to grow again.

Of course, Brexit looms large.  But, if things look more certain, Minister Donohoe should consider a supplementary estimate to fully fund home care until the statutory scheme is introduced in 2021.

Whilst this additional resource is welcome, it is disappointing that none of HCCI’s recommendations to increase the labour force appear to be funded.  We suggested a range of measures from changes to social welfare rules to more money to organisations like Skillnet Ireland in order to meet the expected demand for 7,000 carers in 2021.  We will continue to argue for these measures as, without them, the planned statutory scheme for home care will be hampered from the beginning.

In its Pre-Budget submission to Government, Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) stated:

  • Service provision would need to increase by 12% to clear the waiting list. This would add over 6,000 people and 2.1M hours, requiring an additional €53.5M (if the cost of the service is kept at 2018 levels).
  • The health budget must increase by 3-4% per year to keep up with population growth and ageing.  Based on the 2019 budget and service provision, HCCI believes Ireland’s demographics will mean the HSE need to add roughly 2,150 people and 725,000 hours to home support services in 2020, requiring an additional €18M.
  • For those receiving home care, service provision should increase by 15% to fully meet assessed need.  This equates to roughly one hour extra per person per week for a total of 3.2M hours, requiring €66.9M.
  • HCCI’s total financial estimate for 2021 – that is, to clear the waiting list for home care and fully meet people’s assessed need – would mean an increase in the budget of €138M (31%) to a total budget in 2020 of €584M. This will allow roughly 24M home support hours to be provided to nearly 62,000 people.

HCCI published its report roadmap for the statutory scheme, Providing More Citizens the Freedom to Live at Home, for home care last Tuesday, 1st October.  This contained several proposals for consideration by Government to inform the development of the statutory scheme for home care.  Among these was the estimate for increasing the number of cares, and how the current social welfare rules act to penalise many carers.

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