Home helps structurally underpaid

Some 70% of companies offering home nursing services are making a loss because local councils will not pay the proper cost of care, according to research by home help umbrella group Actiz.

The cost of actually employing someone to work as a home help or home nurse is between €23 and €25 an hour but local councils are only prepared to pay between €17 and €23 an hour, Actiz director Aad Koster told Radio 1.
Home nursing firms face a difficult dilemma, Koster said. If they refuse to work for below cost price, their staff will lose their jobs and the people they are caring for face uncertainty, he said.
Since 2007, home nursing companies have become commercial operations which have to compete for local authority contracts. Before that, home helps and nursing services were paid for out of the AWBZ long-term care health fund.
Unions say both worker pay and services to clients have become worse since competition was introduced.

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