Nursing homes call on Government to extend the Employment Permit Regulations Scheme to nursing home sector


NHI AGM hears of crisis emerging for healthcare assistants & urgent requirement to remove role from ineligible employment listing

29th May 2018


Nursing Homes from across the country have unanimously called on Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys to amend the Employment Permit Regulations to support the recruitment of healthcare assistants from outside the EU.  On 14th May Minister Humphrey’s announced changes to the Employment Permit Regulations to support the recruitment of workers from outside the EU to support the agri-food sector.


At today’s AGM of Nursing Homes Ireland, Members called for equal treatment and immediate action for the nursing home sector by the Minister and her Department in order to alleviate the crisis presenting in the recruitment of healthcare assistants.


Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO said: “A severe labour shortage is presenting within this employment category. We heard today from nursing homes across the country that the crisis will result in bed closures and reduction in capacity of nursing homes to facilitate discharges from acute hospitals. Failure by Government to take urgent action is presenting a crisis within our health services. The crisis will only escalate if the required measure to alleviate pressures is not taken with immediacy.  


“As demonstrated by Minister Humphrey’s recent introduction of a pilot scheme to address labour shortages in the horticulture, meat processing and dairy sectors, immediate action can be taken in such regard with its extension to the nursing home sector. We urge Government to act now. We have written to Minister Humphrey’s calling upon her to remove the role of healthcare assistant from the ineligible categories of employment permit listing and to undertake the process with immediacy.”


There are currently circa 16,000 healthcare assistants employed in the private and voluntary nursing home sector in Ireland. A Nursing Homes Ireland Workforce Survey undertaken in 2017 suggests nursing homes will have to recruit an additional 0.18 of a healthcare assistant per bed, meaning in 2018 4,266 HCA will be required to meet the care needs of our population requiring nursing home care. This is projected to increase by a further 1,000 in 2019, to bring the projected total to 5,214. The ERSI “Projections of Demand for Healthcare in Ireland 2015-2030” published in October 2017 states that residents in long term care will increase by between 40 - 54%. This increase will have a knock-on effect on staffing levels, resulting in the need to recruit an additional 7,000 Health Care Assistants.


The AGM was hosted in the Clayton Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin, and was attended by representatives from nursing homes across the country.


Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is available for further comment. Contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive at 087 9082970 or 01 4699806.


Note for the Editor

As well as representations to Minister Humphrey, NHI has:

  • Made numerous submissions to the Expert Group on the Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) and the Consultation on Proposed Guiding Principles to Frame the State’s Economic Migration Policy
  • Minister Jim Daly, Minister for Mental Health and Older People
  • Minister Mary Mitchell, then Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation


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