South Belfast Assembly candidate Mrs Bradshaw was speaking as the Independent Health and Care Providers body said a number of companies were struggling to stay afloat after the introduction of the national living wage earlier this month.
Such companies provide around 70 per cent of the total care packages in Northern Ireland, with the rest being provided by the health trusts.
“The work of care workers, who provide such a valuable service, was already chronically under-funded and under-valued by those who hold the purse strings in the Department of Health. This is another example of the Health Minister failing to forward plan and put in place mechanisms to support the independent sector, which sees workers who experience less favourable terms and conditions to those employed by the trusts.
“If the DUP had brought forward an effective process of health and social care reform during the last Assembly term to bring the service provision and budget into some order, the affected workers would not be currently being further disadvantaged.
“The Minister has been lobbied on this issue since the UK Government announced the introduction of the living wage and he evidently has not done anything to address it. Now the independent care sector are the ones feeling the effects.”