ALONE welcome increased rate of pay for home support workers but raise concern at cut to home support hours to be delivered this year.

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed the increased rate of pay for home support workers but says older people should not see their care hours cut.

The organisation was responding to the announcement that the Department of Health sanctioned an adjustment of targets in the National Service Plan 2023 for the provision of 23.9 million hours of home support, to a revised target of 22 million hours, to provide home support workers with a living wage and fair remuneration. This is a form of shrinkflation being introduced by the Minister for Health at a time when older people are crying out for more home care hours.

“The least that home support workers should expect is to be paid the national living wage, and to be reimbursed for the time they spend travelling,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan. “Home support workers provide vital support to older people and people with disabilities. They must be properly paid to make this significant difference in people’s quality of life and wellbeing. However, the decision to cut the target for delivery of home support hours at the same time is a cynical move. Home support saves the Government money by keeping people well and safe at home for longer. The reduction in hours will result in ‘care cramming’, whereby necessary care will be rushed or not provided.”

He concluded, “We continue to wait for the implementation of the statutory home care scheme so that older people and people with disabilities can get the care they need, when they need it. To achieve this, we must implement the recommendations of the Strategic Workforce Advisory Group. But it shouldn’t be the people in need of care who have to pay for this.”

ALONE is a member of the Home Care Coalition. The Home Care Coalition is a group of more than 20 charities and not-for-profit organisations that was established with the aim of ensuring the implementation of an adequately resourced, person-centred statutory home care scheme in Ireland.