The number of home care visits funded by Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland that were 15 minutes or less has risen, according to new Department of Health statistics.

During a survey week in September 2021, 169,800 such visits took place, three-quarters of which were made by the independent sector, as opposed to 161,377 for the corresponding week in 2020.

Moreover, there was a 7% increase visits that lasted 15 minutes or less by the independent sector from 2020, but the associated figure for the statutory sector fell slightly.


Ending 15-minute visits was a key component of the ‘15’ campaign, launched by the Homecare Association and Independent Health & Care Providers (ihcp) last year.

The figures also reveal a growth of around 6% in the number of people receiving home care compared with the previous year.

Click here for the full dataset.  

Commenting on the news, Homecare Association CEO Dr Jane Townson (pictured) said: “November’s cash injection of up to £23 million for home care and social care services in Northern Ireland was a welcome boost, enabling fee rates for providers to rise to a minimum of £18 per hour and care workers to be paid the real Living Wage. 

“However, the Homecare Association’s Minimum Price for Homecare report for 2022-23 showed that an hourly rate of £24.08 would be required for payment of the real Living Wage.

“In a recent briefing, we computed an annual funding deficit of £64.5 million for Northern Ireland’s independent home care sector, even with the £18 per hour uplift.”

Townson continued: “A cost-saving approach which requires providers to penny-pinch from all their budget lines when the starting point is already so low is taking risks with the quality and safety of a regulated service. It also risks undermining the ability of providers to improve the working experience of care workers, thereby further destabilising the workforce.  

“We are seeing worrying issues throughout the UK, including for services relied upon by many people and their families in Northern Ireland. Therefore, we call for ongoing financial support to be made available for Northern Ireland’s homecare sector, and for payment to be made in advance on planned homecare.”

Previous articleBlackrock raises stake in nursing home operator Orpea
Next articleLimerick nursing home facing closure


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here