Home Care Coalition calls for more than €1bn funding for home support services in Budget 2024
The Home Care Coalition says investment is needed in the #HomeCareCrisis
The Home Care Coalition is calling for €1.05bn funding to the Home Support Service in Budget 2024 to provide quality care to older people and people with disabilities, and to enable additional recruitment and retention of home care workers.
The Coalition is also asking that the Budget for home support must account for both the increasing demand for care, and the need to provide better pay and conditions for workers, noting the dangerous precedent of 1.9 million hours being cut from the target for Home Support services midway into 2023 to enable necessary pay improvements for home support workers.
The Home Care Coalition, which is made up of 23 leading charities, not-for-profits and campaigners, gathered outside the Department of Health on 11 September to call for additional hours of support in line with the health and social care needs of the growing population of people with disabilities and older people, including older people with age-related disabilities.
The Coalition has also launched a joint social media campaign today ahead of the Budget, under the hashtag #HomeCareCrisis
“Government have committed to providing care in the community, and community care starts at home.”
Based on the €723 million Budget allocation for 2023, an increase in demand of 31.8% (as projected by the ESRI) would require a further €230 million, bringing the total funding requirement to €953 million. The Coalition estimate that providing additional pay and enabling recruitment of home care workers would require a minimum of an additional 10% to deliver, bringing the total to €1.05bn.
“We have a commitment from Government that they will deliver a statutory home support scheme. Meanwhile, we are also seeing an increasing waiting list for home support services, home support workers making less than the living wage, and a recruitment crisis in the sector. Demand for home support is only going to increase in the coming years, on top of today’s significant unmet demand for the service. None of this can be rectified without substantial additional funding in Budget 2024,” said Seán Moynihan of ALONE, a spokesperson for the Coalition, “Government have committed to providing care in the community, and community care starts at home.”
Emer Begley of the Disability Federation of Ireland, a spokesperson for the Coalition states “Ageing and disability comes to every household at some time. 76% of people over 85 reported a disabling condition to ‘any extent’ and 48% to a ‘great extent’ in Census 2022. These figures highlight the intersection of ageing and disability. Only concerted government action can underwrite the suite of services and supports that all people will need across the lifespan.”
The Coalition also said that Government must support voluntary and not-for-profit providers to continue operating in the sector.
“We must ensure that not-for-profit home care providers are supported to continue to deliver the service,” said Aoife Smith of the Great Care Co-Op, a spokesperson for the Coalition, “Last year more than 60% of total home support hours nationwide were delivered by Section 39 not-for-profit and other non-HSE providers. Services in CHO6 (Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin South East) and CHO9 (Dublin North, Dublin North Central, Dublin North West) are provided entirely via non-HSE Home Support service providers. If we don’t provide the funding to enable not-for-profit providers to stay operational and offer pay parity to home care workers, people in need will simply not be able to access the service.”
The Coalition has also asked that Government provide a clear commitment to an increase in both the number of hours of support being provided, and increased funding for the service. As the unit cost per hour of home care is increasing, an increase in funding in Budget 2024 may not represent an increase in hours provided but simply maintenance of the current scheme. Therefore, we must see clear commitments to both increased hours of support being provided, and increased funding for the service, in this year’s Budget, particularly in light of the Department of Health’s readjustment in the funded hours for home support in 2023.