Overseas Staff Vital To The Delivery Of Services

Care home residents in Northern Ireland concerned about migrant home care workers have been told delivery of health and social care services would suffer without the skill and professionalism of overseas staff. That’s the message from the Craigavon and Banbridge Community Trust after Dromore families called for a reassessment of the deployment of foreign nationals as care assistants in the area.

Accompanied by MPs Jeffrey Donaldson and David Simpson, locals worried about communication problems and “limited” vetting procedures for migrant workers recently met with Trust directors.

Afterwards the Trust insisted it was committed to providing high quality services and welcomed feedback – negative or positive – from service users.

It said it had recently experienced difficulties in meeting increasing needs for home care services as local recruitment had not attracted sufficient numbers of Trust Home Care Workers.

“In an effort to meet existing needs and to be best placed for further growth in demand,” a spokesperson said, “the Trust has worked in partnership with Home Care Northern Ireland to introduce new workers to the Dromore area; some of their employees are migrant workers.”

The Trust said it had always been the case that it provided home care services, in support of people with health or social care needs in their own home, both through its own workforce of more than 550 Home Care Workers and by working in partnership with a number of independent home care providers.

“While the Trust continues to be the main provider of home care services,” the spokesperson said, “the Trust will continue to work within a mixed economy of care in order to best meet the needs of the local community. This may involve increasing the amount of activity with independent providers, but that will not be at the expense of existing jobs.

“All independent providers with which the Trust has a contract must work to agreed standards. The Trust, via its contract with independent providers, ensures that suitably trained and experienced staff deliver the service.

“The providers must also operate a robust recruitment and selection process; this process is the same as that which is applied to Doctors and Nurses coming to work in Northern Ireland from other countries.”

The Trust said the diversity of Northern Ireland’s increasingly multi-cultural society, in which many minority ethnic families had lived for generations, contributing greatly to society, was to be embraced and welcomed.

“Within the Northern Ireland economy as a whole, there are skills and labour shortages,” the spokesperson said. “In the health and social services sector there is a shortage of qualified nursing, medical and care staff.

“Without the skill and professionalism of overseas staff, the delivery of health and social care services would be affected.”