Assembly members support setting up of new Seychelles Home Care Agency |17 December 2022
A new agency to be called the Seychelles Home Care Agency which willmanage and regulate home care services in the country will be set up at the start of the New Year after the National Assembly members during the House’s last sitting for the year yesterday, voted to give the green light to its establishment.
Altogether 16 MNAs voted to approve the general merit of the Bill, no one voted against while nine MNAs abstained.
Following a series of discussions and amendments to the wording of different sections of the Bill during committee stage, 16 MNAs voted for, no one voted against and all opposition MNAs abstained.
When she presented the Bill for Assembly members’ consideration and subsequent approval, the Minister for Youth, Sports and Family, Marie-Celine Zialor, said the objective and principal merit of the Seychelles Home Care Agency Bill, 2022 is to establish an agency to be named the Seychelles Home Care Agency. It will be responsible to manage and regulate home care services in the country which until now have been managed under the Agency for Social Protection.
The new Bill being proposed provides for;
- the management and regularisation of homecare services in Seychelles;
- administration of all applications from people seeking home care service;
- keeping and proper maintenance of a register of all carers and recipients of care services;
- registering carers and recipients;
- registering potential candidates who are willing to provide home care services;
- monitoring and evaluating the level of services being provided as per established standards;
- recognising organisations or competent authorities which provide training for carers and facilitate training for caregivers to receive a certificate;
- assisting in solving issues and address concerns raised in relation to care between recipient and caregivers;
- buying services from other registered operators which provide home care services where necessary;
- managing any other schemes that will be determined;
- carrying out any other functions that will be prescribed.
Minister Zialor stated that all the above provisions are detailed in 38 Sections of the Bill.
Detailing some of the provisions, Minister Zialor touched on Section 6 which makes it mandatory that the agency register all persons working as carers and those willing to register to work as carers.
“The law provides for all carers to receive training with a competent authority before receiving a certificate which will be valid for three years at the end of which they will have to re-register. This is important to ensure that the carer had not committed any offense to disqualify her/him from continuing in the profession,” Minister Zialor explained.
With regard to registration, detailed in Section 8, Minister Zialor explained that it is important to record the following information;
- persons applying to receive assistance of a carer through the agency;
- individuals who applied to register as carers as per the provisions of the law;
- present service recipients and others who will qualify for the service;
- carers who received formal registration.
Section 9 of the Bill details and clarifies the responsibilities of a carer while Section 10 addresses and details the application process for home care services.
Minister Zialor said any person requiring home care services paid for by the government through the agency, should apply to the agency after receiving her or his needs assessment by a professional or medical officer of the Health Care Agency.
Section 11 explains the allocation of a registered carer to an applicant. On this point Minister Zialor explained that the carer should care for the recipient as her or his needs noting that families who want to recruit their own carers from abroad for instance should ensure that she or he is registered with the agency and meet all the requirements of the law.
Section 12 provides for a contract with the recipient and the carer who is considered an independent but not an employee of the agency. But it is the responsibility of the agency to prepare and draft the contract which will be signed by both parties.
Section 13 details provision for financial assistance payment to the carer for services as per the contract and agreement between the two parties.
Section 14 provides for monitoring of the services being provided by the carers and the agency will have to organise monitoring of the services at home and appoint the officers who will be responsible for the home visits.
Section 17 gives the agency the mandate and the authority to revoke the registration certificate of a carer after any violation as stated in other provisions of the Bill but there are also provisions in Section 16 which relates to suspension before a revocation takes place. Meanwhile Section 27 provides for an appeals board to confirm or reverse any decision on a case among other provisions while Section 28 deals with penalties and sanctions for carers who refuse to register but are providing the services.
Minister Zialor has stressed that this is the first Bill to establish a home care agency in the country.
It is important to note that at present there are some 3400 carers providing home care services in the country among them 410 men.
MNAs tabled a series of points related to the agency which they wanted the minister to clarify and these were related mainly to the salary and payment of gratuity for carers, their rights to leave and other holidays, parents caring for their disabled children, who qualifies for a carer and who becomes a carer, the age of a carer, more details on the needs assessment among several other points and opposition MNAs also stated that the Bill is being rushed through the Assembly because they believe the important framework to guide its operations and functions is not yet completely ready.
In her right of reply following the debate Minister Zialor informed MNAs that the priority of her ministry is to have in place the agency to manage and regulate home care services in the country. She noted that once the agency has been set up and started its operation, there is bound to be various other concerns that come up and she will be ready to come back to the Assembly to present amendments to the law if necessary.
Following debates on the Bill which ended late yesterday afternoon, the National Assembly went into recess and will resume sittings with the State-of-the-nation address early next year.