Northern Ireland’s largest provider of home care has commended Health Minister Robin Swann and his team following the announcement of a £23m funding package to help address the staffing crisis in the sector.

The Department of Health support package will empower employers to provide enhanced rates of pay and conditions to care workers in an effort to attract and retain staff in the sector.

The increasing shortfall in Northern Ireland’s domiciliary care workforce has resulted in providers struggling to deliver contracted homecare packages. The staffing deficit has also led to increased delays in hospital discharges, placing the healthcare system under further strain.

Ryan Williams, Director at Connected Health, which engaged closely with the Department of Health ahead of the announcement, says it is a very positive move for the under-pressure domiciliary care sector and indeed hospitals across Northern Ireland.

“The collaboration with the Department and our sector on this critical issue has been second to none. This announcement both reflects the need to relieve pressure on the wider health and social care system and initiates a much broader investment in the sustainability and capability of care in our communities across Northern Ireland.

“This investment will protect existing capacity, enhance capability going forward and most importantly put much needed and deserved additional money in the pockets of carers across the region. We commend the Minister and his team on making this commitment to the sector.”