Changes to Fair Deal scheme

Public Consultation on Home Care Services

Claire McGovern

Reporter:

Claire McGovern

Care of the aged

New scheme will ensure our aged will get the best possible care.

A public consultation on home care services has been opened which is being carried out in order to help inform the development of a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home care services.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD, and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly, TD, made the announcement on Thursday.

Minister Harris said “My priority is to ensure that our older people get the best care possible. For many that is long-term nursing home care, but for many others that care can be provided in their own homes, surrounded by the people and communities that they love.

"Unfortunately, as a country, the only statutory scheme we have in place at present to care for our elderly is the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, ‘a Fair Deal’. I am determined to change this and to establish a new statutory homecare scheme which is affordable and sustainable.

"We will also introduce a system of regulation for home care so that the public can be confident that the services provided are of a high standard. By doing this, we will help to ensure that people can continue to live with confidence, security and dignity in their own homes, for as long as possible”.

Minister Daly stated that “Homecare is an increasingly important part of the supports we offer to older people, and will continue to increase in importance into the future, as our ageing population grows. It is estimated that about 20% of the over 65 population receive some form of community-based support service annually from the State. I am committed to enabling more care in the community for older people and others with identified care needs.

"I would like to find out what people think about current home care services – what is working well and what needs to be improved. I also want to hear the public’s views on what the future scheme should look like. This will help us to design a home care system that better meets the needs of service users”.

Minister Daly went on to say that “I intend to consult with stakeholders throughout the process of developing the new scheme. As such, today is just the start of a broader consultation process on home care. This will ensure that everyone with an interest in home care will be given the opportunity to have their voice heard”.

The consultation paper is particularly aimed at people who use home care services, their families and the general public. However, everyone with an interest, including: health and social care providers; health and social care workers; advocacy groups; those providing complementary services (such as meals-on-wheels and social activities); and representative organisations is welcome to participate.

The consultation paper is available online at http://health.gov.ie/consultations and the closing date for submissions is 31 August 2017.