Northern Ireland’s government has announced a £5 million funding package for domiciliary care.
Announcing the news, health minister Robin Swann said the funding will help address additional costs facing independent providers during the ongoing pandemic, such as PPE and enhanced sick pay.
He also confirmed that the government’s Rapid Learning Review has been completed and will shape plans for the sector going forward.
The Minister said: “I am hugely grateful to all who work in this sector for their dedication. Frontline workers have shown bravery, skill and commitment in keeping this service running in the face of the huge challenge presented by Covid-19.
“We have also seen innovation, with dedicated Covid-19 homecare teams deployed in some areas. Those in receipt of homecare are often amongst the most vulnerable in our society and we need to recognise that homecare is an essential service.
“Those receiving this care hugely value the ability to remain in their own homes, whilst receiving care and support.”
The home care sector delivers care to around 270,000 people a week and employs 18,000 people across both the statutory and independent sector.
The Minister continued: “I am determined to drive forward reform across adult social care, including homecare. This will be ever more important as the elderly population continues to grow and as enhancements in technology and new models of care mean more and more people can be supported in their own homes.
“That is why I have asked officials to look at ways to enhance terms and conditions across adult social care and why I am looking to improve training opportunities and recognition for those who choose to care.
“As demand begins to outstrip supply, we need more workers entering this sector. I appeal to anyone considering starting a career in caring to get in touch. We want to hear from you.”