Health (Amendment) (Professional Home Care) Bill 2020: First Stage

I call Deputy Colm Burke or Deputy Higgins to move the motion seeking leave to introduce their Bill.

I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to provide for the regulation of professional home care, for that purpose to amend the Health Act 2007 and to provide for related matters.

The Law Reform Commission produced a report in December 2011 recommending that a legislative framework be put in place relating to people who provide home care. It also recommended that adequate regulation be put in place. As we all know, more than 640,000 people are over 65 in this country. By 2030, more than a million people will be over that age, and by 2040, there will be 1.3 million people over that age. Therefore, there will be a growing demand for home care. It is also the case in hospitals that 51% of all hospital beds are occupied by those who are over 65. There is an urgent need for proper planning to be put in place for the appropriate timeframe for people to be discharged from hospital. There must also be appropriate procedures in place for providing home care.

The Law Reform Commission defined home care as services required to ensure an adult person can continue to live independently in his or her home. The report recommends that the protection of the safety, dignity and independence of care recipients should be the guiding principle of a legislative framework of home care services. This Bill provides for the regulation of home care providers where currently there is no regulation in place. The Bill would provide additional powers to HIQA to ensure we can have proper planning in place. It will form the basis of an individual contract of care between a professional care provider and the care recipient, and it will provide that prior to the commencement of professional home care, a risk assessment will be carried out, with this assessment to be reviewed on an ongoing basis. It will include requirements concerning the care plan required under a proposed section 106 to the Health Act 2007, including a companionship plan, a home care plan and the advance home care plan.

What is contained in the Bill must be put in place to ensure a proper structure and regulation of these activities. I formally propose that the Bill be debated in the House in the not-too-distant future.

I thank the Deputy. Is it the first Bill he has proposed in the House?

I offer my congratulations on that. Is the Bill opposed?

Question put and agreed to.

As this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

Question put and agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 4.35 p.m. and resumed at 4.55 p.m.