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Government Approves the Drafting of Legislation for the Regulation of Home Care and Home Support Services
In a press release on April 30th, which was updated on the gov.ie website on May 11th, the Department of Health announced that the government has now given approval to the Minister for Health to draft a General Scheme and Heads of Bill, finally establishing a long-awaited licensing and regulatory framework for home support providers, to include publicly funded, for-profit and not-for-profit organisations.
It is expected that the General Scheme will cover several areas, including procedures for licence application, the establishment of a register of providers, and transitional arrangements for existing home care providers when the legislation comes into force.
The drafting of the General Scheme by the Department of Health forms one part of the process of developing a regulatory framework for home support services. The framework will include a set of minimum requirements, in the form of regulations. These will provide the criteria against which providers will apply to become licensed to operate and will also create a benchmark against which services will be measured in future inspection processes.
Draft standards are currently being developed by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and will be arranged thematically under several domains, including clinical oversight, corporate governance, standards of service delivery and qualifications of home support workers.
This move has been welcomed by the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, and the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD.
Following the Government meeting approving the drafting of legislation, Mr. Donnelly said: “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.”
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