Funding for home help hours is to be increased under a new winter care initiative by the Department of Health, with more than €20 million to be divided between winter and summer services.
Health Minister Simon Harris recently announced the health estimates for 2016, including €40 million being provided for home care services, including the maintenance of €10.4 million home help hours and a further investment of €10 million to ensure the rate of service allocation is maintained during the summer. A further €10 million has been ringfenced for home care during the winter months, when demand for the service peaks.
There was also ring-fencing of the mental health budget and the provision of €3 million in funding for new disability initiatives, as well as further funding relating to paediatric scoliosis, acute coronary care, and cancer services.
Galway East TD and Minister of State for OPW and Flood Relief, Seán Canney, has welcomed the increase, saying it demonstrates the concerns of Independent members of Government are "being taken on board". He said: "This is a first step in the right direction in terms of addressing the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, the people that require assistance to live independently and the hard-working home carers who make that possible."