The Government is being warned of a looming crisis in the nursing home sector, with a new study predicting a shortfall of 8,000 beds within seven years.
The figure comes from research by chartered accountants BDO, which says the Government's approach to residential care will cost the state €273m per year.
BDO advises a number of bodies working in the healthcare sector.
It says the decision to divert funds from the nursing home sector to homecare packages will also lead to longer waiting lists for residential care.
The report's author and BDO's managing partner Derry Gray said the situation was fast approaching crisis point.
"There's a crisis coming. We predict (a shortfall of) 8,000 beds within seven years. That's a huge problem for someone who needs longterm residential care," he said.
"There's a very slow provision of new beds."