HCCI responds to Minister Lynch announcement

that home help sector to be regulated

5 June 2013

Welcoming the announcement by Minister Kathleen Lynch on Prime Time last night that the home help sector is at long last at the top of the priority list for regulation, Michael Harty, Co-Chair of Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) said:

We urge the Minister to move ahead with developing standards at the soonest possible opportunity. Regulation of this sector is long overdue, and who knows how many vulnerable older people have been placed in difficult positions as a result of the lack of a robust regulatory and inspection regime."

In the absence of regulation, one of the best ways to promote quality provision is to empower clients and give them choice over the type of care that they are receiving and who delivers that care. This choice is presently not available in the home help sector.

Recent internal HSE investigations have shown serious issues around the delivery of home help hours by section 39 funded organisations and yet these organisations still receive state funding, while private providers remain blocked from providing any of this care.

HCCI calls on the Minister to use this opportunity to fundamentally reform the way in which home help is funded and allocated, to allow transparent access for all operators whether State, private or voluntary to ensure that quality is the most important factor for in driving choice and regulation.

It is vitally important that HIQA is given the statutory powers to regulate all areas of the home care sector as a matter of urgency. In the absence of State regulation HCCI requires its members to adhere to a code of conduct based on international best practice guidelines. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all operators, and that is why legislation is so urgently required.

About HCCI:

The HCCI is a representative body for private home care organisations in Ireland with the primary objectives of advancing the case for statutory regulation of the home care sector along best international practice guidelines, and working with Government to ensure the resources for the care of older people are distributed as effectively and transparently as possible.

Set up in June 2012 following a merger of the Home Care Association and the Professional Institute of Care Providers, the HCCI has 25 member companies providing employment to almost 8,000 staff and caring for over 6,000 people across every county in Ireland. HCCI members include operators across the country providing 78,000 hours of care each week at the frontline of health service provision.

For further information: www.hcci.ie