HSE chief ‘concerned’ about thousands waiting for home care service

HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster said 6,400 people have been approved under the scheme but are not yet receiving the service.
HSE chief ‘concerned’ about thousands waiting for home care service

By Cillian Sherlock, PA

The Health Service Executive has said it hopes to resolve issues around thousands of people waiting for the provision of home care “at a very early stage”.

The HSE home support service aims to support older people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible and support informal carers.

This includes support for tasks such as dressing and undressing, personal care such as showers, and getting in and out of bed.

The tender between the HSE and private operators is reportedly due to expire at the end of the month and is currently being renegotiated.


HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster said he was “concerned” about the fact it had not been concluded, but added there were “significant factors” involved.

He said: “We rate it as the most critical part of our actual capability to deliver a response to people as an alternative to other events in their lives.”

Mr Gloster was responding to a question from Public Accounts Committee chairman Brian Stanley, who said services for around 40,000 recipients of home care from private providers funded through the HSE are “hanging in the balance”.

Mr Stanley added that around 7,000 clients of home care have not been able to access it due to a lack of providers.

He acknowledged there were challenges in relation to the workforce.

Mr Stanley, a Sinn Féin TD, asked the HSE chief if he was confident it could be brought to a conclusion within a fortnight.

Mr Gloster said: “I do hope the matter will come to a conclusion at the very early stage.”

He said the home care service matter was subject to “very complex tendering processes” and other expert reports including a workforce advisory group.


At the end of March, the number of hours targeted to be provided by the HSE was 5.84 million but the actual activity was 5.2 million.

Mr Gloster said the HSE had targets to provide services to 55,000 people but the service was actually used by 56,980.

He said the matter was the subject of ongoing negotiations with providers and engagement with the Department of Health.

“There are significant commercial sensitivity matters within that,” Mr Gloster said.

He said there were 6,400 people who had funding approved but were still waiting on the provision of home care.

Mr Gloster said: “That’s to our regret.”

However, he said there were only seven people at the end of March awaiting approval of funding.

Mr Gloster said: “I have discussed the matter with department colleagues every day, practically, over the last number of days and late last evening with the minister.”

In response to Mr Stanley’s question on what percentage of home care was provided by the private sector, Mr Gloster said: “My understanding is our dependency on both the for-profit and the charity/not-for-profit/voluntary sector combined is probably in the order of about 60 per cent.”

He did not immediately have a figure on the breakdown between for-profit and not-for-profit operators.

He added that dependency on private operators varies across the country.

Mr Gloster said Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly was “very focused and committed” on the matter.

He said media reports that the HSE had withdrawn an offer was not correct, adding that it would publicise details when the matter is concluded.

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