Dáil Éireann - Volume 631 - 20 February, 2007
Written Answers. - Care of the Elderly.
Mr. Broughan Mr. Broughan
Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the funding that will be available to those suffering from dementia in 2007; where will this funding be allocated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6275/07]
Mr. S. Power Mr. S. Power
Mr. S. Power: The development of Services for Older People is a priority for the Government. This is reflected in the funding committed to services for older people in Budgets 2006 and 2007. Last year, the Government funded the largest ever expansion in services for older people with a full year cost of €150m. This year a full year package of €255m has been allocated for services for older people. This gives a total of over €400m added to services for older people over two years.
Government policy in relation to older people is to support people to live in dignity and independence in their own homes and communities for as long as possible and, where this is not possible, to support access to quality long-term residential care. This policy approach is renewed and developed in the latest partnership agreement, Towards 2016.
There is a complementary link between Government policy in the area of the care of older people and in care for people with  dementia. Both policies stress the need to provide support in dignity and independence, through the provision of appropriate services to the people concerned and their carers. The Government is fully committed to providing such support and service improvement, including the expansion of community and residential care services for people with Dementia. This commitment was reflected in the additional funding of approximately €109 million in Budget 2006 and €82 million in Budget 2007 which was allocated to community supports for older people including those with dementia. These supports include Home Care Packages, Home Help Scheme and Respite Care.
The additional funding provided for Home Care Packages and the Home Help Scheme will further enhance the supports available to families caring for people with dementia at home. In 2006 a total of 2,000 extra Home Care Packages were provided at a full year cost of €55 million (prior to this date only 1,100 packages had been in operation on a pilot basis). A similar increase in the number of packages will be provided in 2007, benefiting some 4,000 people. An additional €21 million was provided for 2007 to fund the cost of some 780,000 additional home help hours in 2007. This brings the total funding allocated to home helps to approximately €171 million per annum.
Among the areas where funding has been provided are day care and respite care which are an integral part of delivering a comprehensive community service for older people. Day care and respite care offer respite for family members and/or carers and provide social stimulation in a safe environment for older people with mild forms of dementia. The provision of an additional €9 million in a 2006 allowed for 1,325 additional places per week in these centres together with additional programmes for specific needs such as activity therapy. It also means that many day care centres can increase the number of days per week they open. Additional funding of €3.5 million provided in Budget 2007 will cater for a further 1,100 day places per week in day care centres.
The Government’s sustained high level of investment in healthcare has enabled the completion and commissioning of numerous new facilities in both the acute and the non-acute sectors. This year, the sum available for expenditure in health under the Health Service Executive’s capital plan is €559.5 million and over the period of the National Development Plan the figure is €4.9 billion.
The HSE has responsibility for the planning and management of capital projects in the health sector, including the development of services for people suffering from dementia. The Department of Health and Children received the Health Service Executive’s Capital Plan for 2007 on 17 January 2007. The Plan is presently being evaluated with a view to its approval by my Department and the Department of Finance. The Health  Service Executive will announce details of the approved capital programme following this process.
Dáil Éireann 631 Written Answers. Care of the Elderly.