HCCI appearing before Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health on February 9th

Press release

HCCI: Home care is facing the most acute recruitment crisis in the sector’s history

HCCI appearing before Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health on February 9th

Dublin, 9th February 2022: According to Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), the organisation representing private home care providers, home care is amid the most acute recruitment crisis ever experienced in the sector’s history. HCCI has said that its members alone need to hire 3,000 additional home care workers this year to be able to provide the 24 million hours of home care funded by the HSE.  This does not include the additional staff needed by the HSE and providers not represented by HCCI. There are currently more than 5,000 people on the national waiting list for home care, up from 800 people in Autumn 2021.

HCCI will appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health today (Wednesday February 9th), alongside Age Action and the Care Alliance, to discuss the recruitment crisis and potential solutions.

Speaking ahead of the Oireachtas committee hearing, Joseph Musgrave, CEO, HCCI said, “The harsh reality of this recruitment crisis is that thousands of people, with conditions ranging from dementia to post-fall rehabilitation, must appeal to the kindness of friends or family to get them out of bed in the morning and suffer the indignity of asking for help to shower or use the bathroom.  For others it means being forced to leave their home and local community and be admitted into a nursing home against their wishes.  This is as a result of home care workforce challenges being ignored for far too long.”

 

HCCI is recommending that solutions be developed in three key areas:

 

  1. Career progression: There should be a graded career structure in home care so that care workers can advance their careers and benefit from the rewards of taking on increased responsibilities that follows in other lines of work. HCCI would like Minister Butler’s Cross-Departmental Workforce Advisory Group to make interim recommendations on the recruitment crisis by May at the latest to inform Budget 2023.

 

  1. Access to the Sector: There should be more training options for home care workers, with earn-as-you-learn models such as apprenticeships. HCCI has developed an ‘on the job’ training module in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) which is awaiting approval from the HSE.  HCCI is also calling for carers from outside the European Economic Area to be eligible for employment permits to work in the home care sector in the same way as they can in hospitals and nursing homes.  Changes should also be made to social welfare entitlements to allow home care workers to take on additional hours without fear of losing their medical card or other such supports.

 

  1. Pay & Conditions: HCCI believes that home care workers should be paid a minimum of the living wage and that this should be included as a condition of the next Home Care Tender. HSE sets the conditions of the market.  That carers do not receive payment for travel, except in rare circumstances, results from the current procurement practice.

 

Musgrave added, “Exacerbating the recruitment crisis is the fact that Ireland is more than two decades behind other countries in developing a professional home care sector.  The statutory scheme for home care, which would offer a right to all those living in the State to access home care, was first due to come into force last year.  We are now expecting it will not be introduced until 2023.”

 

“We stand at a major intersection for home care in Ireland.  One route leads to further delays, inequities and acrimony.  This road will lead to the collapse of a Home First vision and condemn thousands of citizens to be forced out of their own homes to receive care.  The other road, the one this Government purports to follow, is one where access to home care is made a statutory right early in 2023; where being a home care worker becomes a true profession worthy of the name; and where partners work in collaboration to solve the inevitable challenges that will arise.  HCCI and our members are ready and willing to do all we can to make this latter vision a reality.”

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