Robin Swann announces £70m package for social care providers

Nurse helping an older woman up the stairs
The health minister says the funding will help to cover the cost of wage increases next month

Social care providers and hospices are to receive a £70m support package to deal with rising costs.

The package will help independent sector organisations with minimum wage increases due next month.

Health Minister Robin Swann said he was "making this intervention to stabilise the provision of key services and ensure legal requirements are met."

He said that he was "determined to provide as much ongoing support as possible to the social care sector."

The minister acknowledged that the 2024/25 budget is going to be "severely challenging for all departments".

He said he had "made clear that my ambition for social care is to see wages climb well beyond the minimum wage level."

"That is vital for the long-term sustainability of the sector and is an issue that will have to be tackled," he said.

Mr Swann said he has established structures to advance this work and hopes to see "progress on this issue" in the coming months.

What is in the support package?

The package includes an increase in the regional funding rate for domiciliary care providers to £20.01 per hour, which Mr Swann said he believes can "help stabilise the service and support enhanced pay."

The £70m funding has been made available for pay cost increases in:

  • Independent Sector (IS) Nursing Homes

  • IS Residential Homes

  • Supported Living settings

  • Jointly Commissioned Supported Accommodation

  • IS Children's Homes

  • IS Domiciliary Care

  • Self-Directed Support (SDS) and Direct Payment contracts

  • HSC contracts in Community & Voluntary and Hospice sectors

The minister added: "I want to reiterate my sincere gratitude to care workers for everything they do.

"They play a vital role in society and we are immensely grateful for their contribution.

"Social care is uniquely placed to provide critical support to citizens, enabling them to live healthy and independent lives while also protecting capacity in our hospitals," he said.