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In Ireland, the home care sector is in total crisis; thousands of people have lost care

Dublin: The Department of Health has admitted that thousands of people in Ireland are being denied access to home care for a variety of reasons. Since last month, 6,400 licenced people have been without access to home care services. Despite government funding, only 60% of people now have access to home care.

HSE Chief Bernard Gloster confirmed the serious situation before the Public Accounts Committee. He stated that this is extremely concerning. HSE home care care is shifting to a new scheme. The issue is that its tender measures have yet to be completed. The service providers have withdrawn from participating in the tender for the new year, alleging that the wage system proposed by the government is not suitable for the workers in the home care and health care sectors. He stated that the Health Minister has also actively intervened in this matter and that everything related to it will be disclosed once the matter has been resolved.

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Brian Stanley, informed the committee that the 40,000 people who received home care services are no longer receiving them because the new contractual arrangements have not been finalised. Due to their shortage, about 7,000 home care clients cannot be served, Stanley said.

In his reply, the head of HSE explained the crisis in the home care sector. This problem was thought to be solvable from the start. However, he stated that it was not possible.

Gloster said that the matter is being discussed with the health department and service providers. He also stated that it is very unfortunate that people must wait without receiving service.

He said that the tendering is at a critical stage, and the reports of the expert groups, including the Workforce Advisory Group, are also required. The HSE is aiming for 5.84 million hours of service by the end of March. But only 5.2 million hours could be provided.

The HSE’s new home support service aims to keep older people in their own homes for as long as possible and use informal carers. This includes all aspects of personal care, such as dressing and bathing. The HSE’s contract with private operators will expire at the end of this month. With this, it is estimated that the problems in the care sector in the country will become more severe.

While the HSE spends an average of €28 per hour on carers in the private sector, companies only pay eleven or twelve euros. The government claims that 28 euros is a reasonable amount. However, groups and organisations such as Migrants’ Rights Centre, Overseas Health and Home Carers Ireland, and others have demanded that the government ensure that companies are not trying to increase profits in the name of paying carers and that the increase ensures that the benefit of the increase is received by home carers.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly informed Parliament that intensive efforts have been launched to improve the safety of those working in the health care home care sector and the wage service system, and that foreign workers can expect more attractive benefits. The government is reviewing issues, including family reunification.

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