Minister for Health Simon Harris has said there will be no cuts to home-help hours or to home care packages.

Mr Harris said "when it comes to home-care, not only with there be no cuts, there will be additional hours provided this year."

He said the Health Service Executive's "service plan for this year provides for 800,000 additional home-help hours."

"I have been very clear in my discussions with the HSE that they must and will deliver on all of those commitments," he told RTÉ News.

Mr Harris was responding to a report in The Irish Times that said the HSE had proposed making cuts to home care packages.

The newspaper said the measure was contained in correspondence between the Department of Health and the HSE outlining "savings in the order of €500 million in 2019."

The Minister for Health said "it's normal for any health service, particularly a health service with a budget of nearly €17 billion, to make sure that there is no waste and to make sure they do things efficiently."

However Mr Harris insisted any savings that can be made "should not impact on frontline services."

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly, has said the party welcomes the commitment that home-help hours will not be cut.

However he said "it’s very difficult to see how you can cut spending in health care by €500 million and not effect front line services."

Mr Donnelly also said the question needs to be asked, "where will the Government find the €500 million" in savings.