Home support providers to be required to hold a license

Home support providers to be required to hold a license

Stephen Donnelly

Home support providers will be required to hold a license under proposed new legislation.

The Department of Health has been given the go-ahead by ministers to draft a general scheme and heads of bill to establish a licensing framework for publicly funded, for-profit and not-for-profit home support providers.

The drafting of the general scheme is one part of the regulatory framework for home-support services currently being developed by the Department.

This framework will also include minimum requirements (regulations) which will form the criteria against which the regulator will determine providers’ eligibility to hold a licence to operate as well as national standards which are currently being developed by HIQA.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of supporting our most vulnerable people in society to be cared for in their own homes for as long as possible.

“I am of the view that it is of the utmost importance that all home-support users are provided with a consistent, high-quality level of care, which is safe, effective, and person-centred.

“I believe that the best and most appropriate means of ensuring this standard of service delivery is through the introduction of a comprehensive regulatory framework.”

Mary Butler, minister of state for mental health and older people, added: “Today marks an important step towards meeting this government’s commitment to introduce a statutory scheme to support people to live in their own homes, and provide equitable access to high-quality, regulated home care.

“The aim of a licensing system for home support providers is to enhance service-user safety and quality of care by ensuring that each individual provider complies with minimum standards.

“I strongly believe that stakeholder engagement should be an intrinsic part of this process and the department will be consulting widely throughout the development of the regulatory framework.”

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