Fee rates for homecare in Northern Ireland have consistently lagged behind the other UK nations. Our Homecare Deficit 2023 elucidated this once again, with no Health and Social Care Trust coming close to paying an average rate at, or above, the Homecare Association’s Minimum Price for Northern Ireland. The Department of Health also has a significant funding gap of around £470 million, exacerbating the situation still further.
The Homecare Association’s new calculation for the Minimum Price for Homecare in Northern Ireland is £29.37 per hour.
We base this minimum on the Real Living Wage (as required according to public procurement rules that have been in effect since June 2022), which now stands at £12.00 an hour across the United Kingdom.
Our Minimum Price for Northern Ireland is the amount required to ensure careworkers receive this wage (excluding any enhancements for unsocial hours working), their travel time, mileage, and wage-related on-costs. The rate also includes the minimum contribution towards the costs of running a care business, which complies with quality and other legal requirements.
We do not suggest that the Minimum Price recognises the value of homecare services to society by providing a fair reward for the essential workforce. This would be a ‘fair price’. Instead, we have calculated a ‘minimum price’, and so this should not be treated as a national acceptable price capable of achieving a stable workforce.
The Homecare Association’s Minimum Price has gained wide recognition within the social care and health sectors in all four UK administrations.
We will continue to challenge central government on the overall funding of social care. It is, however, councils, the NHS, and Health and Social Care Trusts (in Northern Ireland) that determine the prices they pay for homecare services at a local level.Homecare Association Minimum Price for Homecare - Northern Ireland 2024-2025.pdf