HCCI responds to further reports of complaints

over home helps for older people

26 July 2013

Responding to further complaints over home helps for older people, Michael Harty, Co-Chair of Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) said:

The worrying news today of further complaints about the Health Service Executive's home help services highlights the vulnerable position of older people in the absence of a robust regulatory and inspection regime. Minister Lynch has said home care is next for regulation, but this cannot come quickly enough.

The fact that the complaints referred to in the article relate to home helps is significant. Currently private providers have no access to the home help budget. Home help is provided by internal HSE resources as well as Section 39 funded organisations. These organisations receive funding in advance of providing care, with little oversight as to how that funding is used, as shown by various recent internal HSE audit reports.

In addition home help organisations have a monopoly in the areas they operate in so clients have no alternative if they are unhappy with the service. This lack of competition mean these section 39 funded organisations have no incentive to improve their service provision as patients cannot vote with their feet.

In the absence of regulation, empowering the patient is the best way to ensure the quality of care provision. The HCCI feel it is imperative that there is a more open and transparent method of funding home care generally to ensure that we are providing the best quality care to the maximum number of people possible.

We are committed to highest standards of care for older people, and have called on the Government for years to regulate the sector to ensure older people in Ireland are protected from abuse, and receive the quality of care they so deserve. "The lack of progress on regulation is not acceptable, and the reality is that it takes a scandal like Leas Cross to prompt political action.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Edel Bach: 086 045 3821 / edel.bach@humebrophy.com

About Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI):

Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) was set up in June 2012 following a merger of the Home Care Association and the Professional Institute of Care Providers. It is the representative body for private home care organisations in Ireland with the primary objective of promoting the highest professional standards of care in the home, in a cost-effective manner.

At present 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. Home care is a care alternative that is preferred by the majority of care recipients, contributes to improved quality of life and is a cost-effective treatment option. Our 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