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17.57 17 Dec 2019


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The HSE been given an extra €50 million to fund disability services, supports for older people and hospices.

The announcement of the extra provisions from the Department of Health was made as the HSE published its National Service Plan for 2020.

The health service will receive an increase of over €1 billion in its overall budget, bringing the total funding to €17.056 billion.

€26 million from the additional funding will be allocated to the Fair Deal scheme which will support around 24,400 people by the end of the year, bringing its total budget allocation to over €70 million.

It is estimated that 19.2 million home support hours will be delivered to more than 53,700 people in 2020.

Intermediate Care Services for transitional care and respite will be reviewed while an additional 55 inpatient palliative care beds across four units in Waterford, Mayo, Wicklow and Kildare will be provided.

€3 million of the extra €50 million in funding will support the voluntary hospice sector, while €5 million will be used to provide 40,000 additional personal assistance hours for people with disabilities.

64 additional emergency residential places and 144 intensive support packages will also be provided to respond to some of the emergency service needs for children and adults with disabilities.

Additionally, 1,200 new placements will be provided for young people due to leave school or rehabilitative training.

Primary care

An additional €10 million will be invested in primary care and community services to help people with complex health needs.

The HSE said it is also developing specialist hubs linked to acute hospital services to address the needs of older people and those with chronic disease.

Of the additional funding, €1.2 million will provide additional supports for homelessness and addiction services.

This will include the establishment of a residential treatment service for homeless women and children in the mid-west region.

The health service also said that it will work with the Department of Health on plans to extend free GP care to children under the age of eight.

Mental health

The new National Forensic Mental Health facility in Portrane, taking over from the Central Mental Hospital, will have 130 extra beds, bringing capacity to 170 beds.

Funding for assisted human reproduction services will also receive €1 million of the extra provisions.

Paul Reid, Chief Executive of the HSE, said that while they receive "strong satisfaction ratings" in national patient surveys, "there is no doubt that overall we aren’t currently delivering the kind of health service that the public expects and which we aspire to".

He added: "The commitment to the reform of our healthcare system has not proven easy to deliver.

"Certainly, it will not be achieved within a single service planning cycle. But it can and must be done, over the coming years.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris welcomed the publication of the plan and commented: "A major focus of the service plan is to continue bringing the important Sláintecare health reform programme to life in communities across the country by delivering investments in key strategic supports."

Main image: File photo by: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

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