Outsourcing could create 8,600 new jobs and 18 million additional hours of home help within existing budget
Up to 8,600 jobs could be created and €2 billion saved through reform of the home care sector, according to a new report from Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI).
The research shows that €117 million per annum could be saved immediately through opening up the tendering of home help and home care services in Ireland. A further €256 million per annum could be saved if funds are redirected from the Fair Deal Scheme to more appropriate care provision for low and medium dependency older people in their own homes.
The report, The Business Case for the Outsourcing of Home Care Provision and a More Efficient Use of Fair Deal Funds, compiled by EPS Consulting for HCCI, the representative body of private home care providers in Ireland, outlines the need to address inefficiencies in the elder care model as a matter of urgency.
Key findings of the report:
- Cumulative savings of €2 billion could be achieved over the next 8 years to 2021 in line with phased outsourcing and an end to the ring-fencing of one type of care over another;
- The current cost of HSE / not for profit delivered home help services is 30 per cent more expensive than private sector rates;
- Savings of €117 million per annum could be achieved if all home help and home care package provision was outsourced;
- An additional €256 million per annum could result if 30 per cent of current patients with low to medium dependency under the Fair Deal Scheme (deemed potentially suitable for home care but currently occupying more expensive residential places) were provided with intensive care at home;
- More people are going to need support as our elderly population increases. Between now and 2021 the number of people over 65 is set to rise to nearly 800,000– a 40 per cent increase on 2006 levels.
Michael Harty, HCCI Co-Chair, said, “Harnessing the outsourcing opportunity could support the creation of up to 8,600 jobs in the home care sector, as more patients will require care and more hours will be able to be delivered within the existing budget. These are local jobs that will be in every parish and community across Ireland, providing employment in many areas experiencing serious unemployment issues.”
Harty continued, “A stated aim of the Minister for Health James Reilly and the HSE is to move care back into the community, yet present policy and funding do not reflect this. The current system of providing home care services to older people and disabled is unsustainable and has already reached a level that the Exchequer cannot afford.
“The Government needs to stop paying lip service and take action to address inefficiencies in the system, through a more open and transparent commissioning system which will help save money, create jobs, and stop the cuts to front line services enabling thousands of people to be cared for in their own home.
“The money saved from competitive tendering could and should go toward providing more home care to those who need it most. Our proposal could generate an additional 18 million hours each year of home help within the existing budget. As budgets are being cut everywhere, the Government cannot afford to ignore making the changes needed in the home care sector.”