The Programme for Government (Government for National Recovery, 2011-2016) commits to developing and implementing national standards for home support services, which will be subject to inspection by the Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA).
Primary legislation will be required to introduce a statutory regulation system for home care services. Some complex legal issue arises in this area. The changes needed are being introduced in the context of the licensing of Health Care providers generally and of other legislative priorities in the Social Care area. Issues of resources also need to be factored in.
In the meantime a number of measures have been or are being taken to improve the safety and quality of home support services for older people delivered by, or on behalf of, the HSE. A Procurement Framework for Home Care Services (with quality and screening requirements) came into effect in mid-2012 and, in parallel, the HSE introduced National Guidelines for the Standardised Implementation of the Home Care Package Scheme.
New National Quality Guidelines for Home Care Support Services and new National Home Help Guidelines have been prepared and are currently the subject of negotiations between the HSE and SIPTU under the auspices of the Labour Court.