The increased HSE budget announced in the HSE National Service Plan is an opportunity to improve health services across all sectors of the Clare community.

That’s the view of Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey who said that the Service Plan is based on an increased budget of almost €1 billion, bringing the total health budget to more than €14 billion.

“I am delighted that the HSE will continue to support older people in their own homes for as long as possible as well as providing enhanced services and prioritising transitional care resources to support acute hospital discharge.

“The HSE expects to deliver 10.57 million home help hours to 49,000 people; 16,750 Home Care Packages,;190 Intensive Home Care Packages and 7,820 approvals for transitional care to people in acute hospitals to alternative care settings.

“Patients in Clare will also benefit from the introduction of the medical card for recipients of the Domiciliary Care Allowance and a reduction in prescription charges for the over 70’s.

“The Service Plan will mean a number of improvements in the provision of health services across a number of areas, including:

•Disability services, including provision of day centre places, for school leavers with a disability (€11.8m)

•Ongoing hospital service developments and the opening of commissioned new units (€9m)

•Access to older people services (€10m)

•National Ambulance Service delivery (€1m)

“The funding for the HSE will also be used to improve patient access to a number of services, including:

•primary care services (€12m)

•mental health services (€15m)

•addiction services (€1.5m)

“€20 million is being provided to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to work with the HSE to drive down waiting lists and reduce the length of time people are waiting for treatment. The €40 million provided for the Winter Initiative in 2016 will continue in 2017 to implement measures to address overcrowding in our emergency departments.

“The HSE National Service Plan will deliver on some of Fine Gael’s key health priorities in 2017. We are determined to improve health services for everyone in Clare,” Deputy Carey concluded.

Caption: Deputy Joe Carey at Ennis Hospital