18 October 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindreas Moynihan, has welcomed the publication of the Report of the Strategic Workforce Advisory Group on Home Carers and Nursing Home Healthcare Assistants. The report is available online here.
Deputy Moynihan commented: “The cross-departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group was established in March 2022 to examine strategic workforce challenges in publicly and privately provided front-line carer roles in home support and nursing homes, and to develop recommendations to urgently address these. I am delighted to see the publication of this very timely report and I strongly endorse the Group’s recommendations. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the complex challenges that are affecting the recruitment and retention of care workers and makes wide-ranging recommendations to address these.”
The Group developed a suite of 16 recommendations, which are presented in the report. These span the areas of:
pay and conditions of employment
barriers to employment
training and professional development
monitoring and implementation
The Cork North West TD continued: “We need to urgently address the shortage of care workers in Ireland. I have highlighted this shortage of key workers in the Dáil and with the HSE, especially from countries such as the Philippines. I welcome the Group’s clear recommendation to provide for work permit arrangements for non-EU/EEA citizens as home support workers once new regulations are introduced, removing them from the Ineligible Occupations List and matching current arrangements in place for healthcare assistants in nursing homes. The report recommends that up to 1,000 work-permits be issued which promises to have a real impact on existing workforce shortages.”
The report also makes a number of recommendations with respect to the pay and pensions for home support workers and healthcare assistants in private and voluntary organisations.
Deputy Moynihan continued: “All care workers working in home support and nursing homes should receive fair pay and conditions and have the opportunity to progress in their careers. We need to show home support workers and healthcare assistants that we value the important work they do and make it a viable career option. I fully support the Group’s call for all private sector and voluntary providers to commit to pay home support workers and healthcare assistants the National Living Wage at a minimum (currently €12.90), and for home support workers to receive payment for all time spent travelling between service user’s homes and for other reasonable travel expenses.”
Following its establishment, the Group examined the recruitment, retention, training, career-development, and pay and conditions of front-line carers in these sectors and undertook a structured programme of stakeholder engagement to gain insight into the challenges arising from the perspective of key sectoral groups.
The Cork North West TD concluded: “I am confident that delivery on these recommendations will help ensure that the care needs of those who need supports are met. Work will start immediately to progress these key recommendations through a dedicated Implementation Group.”