Thursday, 18 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Home Care Packages
I thank the Minister of State for his response and for setting out the Government's aspirations, but it is shocking that nearly 5,000 people, according to his figures, have been assessed and are still waiting for a carer to become available. There is no indication, although he might be able to provide it, as to how long they have been waiting. The shortage of home care workers clearly indicates there is a recruitment crisis, which is causing immense hardship, distress and suffering to many of those who are awaiting the allocation of care hours and to the members of their family, who may be in their immediate household, who are currently taking on the role of carer. It is also causing immense uncertainty and hardship for carers. One individual told me she has sent emails to many Deputies, media outlets and others. She notes that the majority of clients are very vulnerable. People need care and there are people available to provide it but because of the difficulties with visas for non-EU workers, there is a recruitment crisis.
The response I received to a parliamentary question on this issue states that the difficulty is caused by contracts of employment and employment terms and conditions. These are the significant factors in the recruitment challenges faced by the sector, I am told, rather than a demonstrable labour market shortage. If that is the case, what is the Government doing to sort out the contracts of employment and the terms and conditions being offered? There is clearly an enormous need and demand for people to have access to home care assistants in their homes. It is extremely important for us all that we are moving towards a society where people are not required to be sent into congregated settings when they need care because the State is providing supports and care for such individuals in their own homes. I want to be of assistance in addressing this serious recruitment crisis. We need to see a freeing up of the logjam that is currently blocking access for people who need home care assistants.