The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, and Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton announced the allocation of €81 million in funding from the government’s ‘Inflation Fund’ for voluntary and community providers.
Community-based and voluntary health and social care providers are being allocated the funding on a once-off basis as part of government measures to ease cost-of-living pressures.
At Budget 2023, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced funding to assist various sectors with costs related to energy inflation, including €100 million targeted at “a range of Health funded bodies including nursing homes, hospices and Section 39 organisations”.
€10 million of this funding was already allocated to fund the Temporary Inflation Payment Scheme for private and voluntary nursing homes. Under this scheme, nursing homes can claim up to €5,250 per month to cover up to 75% of their energy costs from July to December 2022.
Last year presented challenges to our economy and society as a whole. In the wake of COVID-19, and as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the country has experienced a dramatic increase in the prices of goods and services, particularly but not limited to energy costs.
Minister Donnelly said, “voluntary organisations play absolutely vital roles in providing frontline services to the most vulnerable in our society: people with disabilities, older people, those suffering from addiction, mental health problems and life-limiting illnesses. Many of these service providers have faced serious pressures in light of high inflation in 2022. I hope that this additional once-off funding will go some way towards recognising those costs.”
The Department of Health has worked with the HSE to finalise a scope and basis for distributing this funding amongst relevant provider organisations. This is now agreed, and payments will shortly commence.
There are over 1,450 organisations that will receive payments, ranging from local community groups to major national service providers.
Around €62 million will go to disability service providers, €6.8 million to older persons services, €3.9 million into social inclusion (including drugs and homeless services), €3.3 million into palliative care, €0.4 million to health and wellbeing and €0.6 million to other organisations operating in the primary care space, including many disease-specific NGOs.
This is a once-off payment in recognition of inflationary cost increases incurred over the course of 2022, and the impact of these on the cost of delivering the services under each organisation’s relevant agreement with the Department of Health.
More detail on how the fund works is set out in the accompanying document.
All eligible organisations will shortly receive a letter from the HSE confirming the amount that they will receive and the terms of the fund.
A full list of the organisations within scope of the fund and the amounts each will receive has been published alongside this statement.