Budget provides for recruitment of 1,000 frontline staff

A total of €60 million to recruit 1,000 frontline staff into the community by the end of 2021, was provided for in Budget 2020.

The budget also provided €45 million to support family friendly measures, including the expansion of free GP care to children under eight, free dental care for children under six, an additional one million home help hours and the roll-out of a pilot statutory scheme.

Fifty-five new hospice beds are to be opened in counties Kildare, Mayo, Waterford and Wicklow and the new National Forensic Mental Health Hospital at Portrane, Dublin is to be opened.

Provision is made for the full roll-out of a HIV PrEP programme,  €25 million in disability funding, investment in the maternity, cancer, dementia strategies, and a new autism plan and €6 million for the Healthy Ireland Fund, up from €5 million in Budget 2019.

There will be an investment of €100 million to the NTPF to help reduce waiting lists, the monthly threshold of €124 for the Drug Payment Scheme will be reduced by €10 to €114 from September 2020, prescription charges will be reduced by 50c from July 2020 and the income limits for medical cards for over 70s are to be increased.

Health Minister, Simon Harris,  said that Budget 2020 was about bringing the Sláintecare health reform programme to life in communities across the country by delivering investment in key strategic supports.

“Today, Sláintecare takes a major step forward, building on the work of the past year. The long-term funding commitment in Budget 2020 will see the shift to community care begin to happen in earnest with 1,000 front line community health care staff to be recruited, including therapists, nurses and other professionals,” he said.

“One million additional home care hours will ensure that we support people to be cared for in their own homes for as long as possible, instead of in hospital or residential care. Alongside this ,we will begin to pilot a Statutory Home Care Scheme next year so that home care is regarded as a right in the same way as long-term residential care.

“In line with Sláintecare we are continuing to expand eligibility for primary care services and reduce the cost of medicines to families and older people.

“In Budget 2020, I have prioritised reform of the health service, investing in our staff and reducing the cost of healthcare for our patients.”

The Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disabilities Finian McGrath TD said, with the additional monies secured, the overall Budget for disability services in 2020 was in excess of €2 billion.”

Funding for HSE Mental Health Services had increased from €711m in 2012 to €1bn in 2020, an increase of over 40%, according to Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mr. Jim Daly.

Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne TD said she welcomed the enhanced funding for the National Drugs Strategy and Healthy Ireland.