Monday 20 November 2017

HSE's home-care package 'not working' - Harris

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke
Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Health Minister Simon Harris is already at loggerheads with the HSE over the slow roll-out of additional home-care packages - despite it getting an additional €40m in funding.

The HSE has been forced to withdraw a directive it issued to Waterford Hospital that no additional home-care packages should be given, except for palliative care.

As the annual hospital trolley crisis looms, the minister told the Irish Independent he was unhappy with the lack of consistency across the country in the use of mid-year additional funds.

The money is due to provide 270,000 additional hours of home care and 2,000 more home-care packages.

"I spoke to the HSE this morning. I am not satisifed it is working as it should," he said yesterday at the launch of the annual report of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

HSE home care ran into crisis in recent months after much of the annual allocation had been spent early in the year to relieve hospital overcrowding, particularly in the run up to the General Election. This meant a waiting-list backlog of hundreds of people approved for home care.

The HSE said the provision of home-care services, particularly to older people, was important in supporting people to remain at home and to support their discharge from acute hospitals. Each area tries to provide home care services "within its annual budget, having regard for assessed need", it added.

There are 620 patients in hospital who are fit for discharge and 44 are waiting for funding for home care.

Irish Independent

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