Homecare in Northern Ireland: The current state of play
The Homecare Association, in collaboration with Independent Health & Care Providers (ihcp), has produced a briefing that makes recommendations to support and strengthen Northern Ireland’s independent homecare sector.
In November, funding of up to £23 million for homecare and social care services in Northern Ireland was announced by Health Minister, Robin Swann. Therefore, fee rates for providers can be increased to £18 per hour as a minimum, so that careworkers can receive the new real Living Wage of £9.90 per hour.
However, our Minimum Price for Homecare report for 2022-23 showed that a rate of £24.08 per hour would be required for payment of the real Living Wage and to ensure services are of good quality and financially sustainable. Consequently, we compute an annual funding deficit of £64.5 million for the sector, even with the £18 per hour uplift. Moreover, travel time and expenses are not accounted for in this new minimum rate.
Northern Ireland’s population is rapidly ageing and demand for homecare is rapidly growing. Therefore, it is imperative that further action is taken so that need can be met, pressure on the health service can be reduced and healthy life expectancy for older and disabled people can be extended.