A €385m investment has been promised to bring all public nursing homes up to minimum physical standards within five years.

The programme, which was announced by Kathleen Lynch, whose ministerial responsibilities at the Department of Health include older people and disabilities, will see 33 facilities replaced and 57 extended or refurbished.

Between them, these public nursing homes currently have 4,723 beds, and the capital programme comprises €237m under the Government’s recently-published multi-annual capital plan, in addition to €148m in the current HSE capital plan.

Public-private partnerships or alternative funding arrangements are to be considered in respect of 10 other facilities to a value of €150m.

But Nursing Homes Ireland, which represents private sector facilities, said yesterday’s notice would not deliver any extra capacity.

“The fundamental issue in care delivery for the nursing home sector remains outstanding five years after this Government assuming office,” said CEO Tadhg Daly.

He said it was extremely disappointing that serious shortcomings in the funding model to support nursing home residents were never addressed in five years.

The capital programme will see works completed between 2016 and 2021, the deadline to which a requirement for public nursing homes to meet physical environment standards was extended late last year.

More than one third of the 90 projects announced by Ms Lynch are not scheduled to be completed until 2021.

She said the very significant investment would mean all public nursing homes would be compliant with environmental aspects of Hiqa standards by that year.

“It is reassuring for those living in these homes, their families and communities throughout the country that the future of public nursing homes has now been secured as a result of this investment,” said the minister.


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