Home and Community Care Ireland addresses Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

On Wednesday 12 December, Joseph Musgrave, Chief Executive of HCCI, addressed members of both Houses of the Oireachtas at the Joint Committee on Health.  Representatives from Age Action, the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, the Care Alliance and Family Carers joined HCCI at the meeting.  During his opening remarks, Joseph highlighted several ways home care service could be improved:

“The current allocation of packages, which is done by fastest finger first as per the HSE’s 2018 Tender, is sub-optimal.  HCCI would prefer to see a different model that would be uniform across all CHOs, allow providers to participate in holistic care planning and thus end the widespread practice of inefficient rostering.  This would provide more meaningful work for carers.”

He went on to discuss the current shortage of carers in the labour force and that efforts to address this need to combine improvements to their conditions as well as the development of a career pathway.

“We need to change the HSE procurement rules so that the tendering process is a tool to improve the conditions of the workforce as well as deliver value for money.  The reality is that the HSE sets the conditions of the market.  That carers do not receive travel allowances, except in rare circumstances, is as a result of the procurement practices of the HSE.

“HCCI submitted a case to the Economic Migration Policy Unit to allow non-EEA workers into Ireland to become home carers.  We think it is vital that we broaden the base of available workers.  In addition, HCCI is currently working on a submission to the Department of Social Protection in the hopes we can end the current system that punishes a worker from providing home care whilst in receipt of state benefits.”

Joseph concluded HCCI’s opening statement with a call to increase dialogue among all those in home care:

“HCCI would like to see a framework that draws on the expertise of the relevant stakeholders and meets regularly to ensure that Sláintecare is a success.  We need to clarify how we will fund the expansion in community services needed to support the reforms, as well as start preparing the entire sector so that it is ready to provide this care.  The regulation of the home care is vital, and therefore we should be teasing out now what model of regulation will deliver the best outcome in the future.”

You can view a video of the session on the Oireachtas website by clicking here.

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