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Health | Statutory scheme for financing and regulation of home-support services

To ask the Minister for Health the progress to date in design and implementation of new statutory scheme for the financing and regulation of home-support services as committed to in the Programme for Government; when such a scheme will be operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Programme for Government commits 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’.
Work is ongoing within the Department across three broad workstreams to progress this commitment:
(i) Regulation of home-support providers
The Department is currently developing a regulatory framework for home-support providers with the aim of ensuring that all service-users are provided with high-quality care. This framework will comprise primary legislation for the licensing of providers, secondary legislation in the form of regulations (minimum requirements), and HIQA national standards.
On 27 April 2021, Government gave approval to the Minister for Health to draft a General Scheme and Heads of Bill to establish a licensing framework for home-support providers. The Heads of a Bill are currently at draft stage and it is intended to bring this legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the earliest opportunity.
In tandem to this, draft regulations setting out the minimum requirements a home support provider must meet to obtain a licence are also at an advanced stage. The Department has completed a targeted stakeholder consultation which has amended the draft regulations further. This has been enhanced by regular discussions with HIQA, HSE, Private Providers’ representative groups and legal expertise assisting with legal text and interpretation of core issues, such as, capacity legislation, employment laws and health and safety issues. A 6-week public consultation is ongoing, due to close on 28th July.
In addition to this, HIQA are in the process of developing standards for home care and home support services which will be the focus of a public consultation in September.
(ii)   Funding of home-support services
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) undertook a programme of work on behalf of the Department on the potential demand for, and cost of, home support which culminated in two reports.
This research will form an important part of the evidence base for the development of a sustainable funding model for home support services in the context of our ageing population.
An internal consultation process on a range of potential funding options is underway. Targeted external consultation will follow in due course.
(iii) Reformed model of service delivery
The Pilot for testing of a reformed model of service for the delivery for home-support is now fully operational. It commenced in November 2021 in CHO 8 and the three other sites CHO2, CHO 4 and CHO 7 became operational in January 2022. The interRAI outputs and pilot site evaluation will be critical to the development of the new home-support scheme.
Recruitment of 128 Care Needs Facilitator posts has commenced to progress the national rollout of interRAI as the standard assessment tool for care-needs in the community. It is planned to have these posts in place by the end of Q3 2022..
Approval and funding were provided in 2021 for the new National Older Persons Services Offices which will encompass the National Home Support Office to be located in Tullamore. Funding is provided for 15 full time jobs including 9 Community Healthcare Organisation home support manager/coordinator posts. Recruitment of the Head of Service of the new National Home support Office has been advertised.  


Dept of Health

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