Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health how many domiciliary care packages are currently not being delivered in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust due to staff shortage and absence; and what measures are being taken to address this situation. [Priority Written]
Minister of Health: As of December 2020, there were 16 home care packages due to be restarted within the Northern HSC Trust area, 11 in Stewartstown and 5 in Moneymore. These packages were all in place by February 2021.
In July 2021, to assist with addressing the lack of availability of staff to service domiciliary care packages, a recruitment campaign was completed by the Trust in Mid Ulster which resulted in 12 successful candidates.
As you will be aware, demand for new packages currently exceeds capacity available and providers continue to experience staffing pressures. A number of providers are actively attempting to recruit additional staff to meet demand, however, this will take time and is dependent on suitable applicants being available.
All providers have Business Continuity Plans in place to ensure minimal impact on service users. Providers have been revising work schedules, with staff being brought in from other rotas where required, to ensure continuity of service provision. The Northern Health and Social Care Trust continues to work with the independent sector to ensure there is no break in service delivery for existing packages.