Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health how the recently announced £23 million for domiciliary care and care home staff will be prioritised for expenditure. [Priority Written]
Minister of Health: There has been a significant amount of engagement between the sector and my Department on this funding package, with a clear recognition that there is a need to ensure this additional funding goes to frontline staff. There is a firm commitment from the employers that this will happen. Some providers have already announced significant pay increases for their staff as a direct result of this additional investment.
Given the pressures facing the domiciliary care sector at present, and the knock on effect this has on primary care services, the majority of funding will be allocated against increasing the hourly rate paid, to a maximum of £18 per hour, for domiciliary care providers. This comes with the expectation that providers will not only maintain service levels, but increase additional capacity. This additional funding will allow employers to offer enhanced rates of pay and better terms and conditions.
The remainder of the funding will be set against providing a pay rise to the care home and supported living sector.
While the Department cannot mandate what levels of pay employers should offer, I have been clear that this additional funding must be used to stabilise and enhance capacity across the sector to see us through a very challenging winter ahead.