State-run nursing homes set for €450m boost in spending strategy

A €450m boost to state-run nursing homes will form part of the Government’s five-year spending strategy to be unveiled next week.

Kathleen Lynch, the junior health minister, said the money would go on urgent refurbishments, elderly care homes, and facilities for disabled people.

The move comes as Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin is set to use today’s Cabinet meeting to warn colleagues to reign in their funding demands ahead of the budget.

The five-year spending plan is set to be hammered out at a meeting of the Cabinet’s Economic Management Council, which comprises the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, finance minister, and public expenditure minister.

The investment in care homes is needed to comply with standards imposed by the Health Information and Quality Authority last July.

State-run nursing homes set for €450m boost in spending strategy

Leo Varadkar

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has previously said €500m was needed for the task, but Ms Lynch indicated more money would be found if needed.

“We are talking about a priority list of 20, but within that 20, there is an immediate priority of 11,” Ms Lynch told RTÉ. “As soon as the capital programme is approved, then we will be able to commence that progress.

“We hope that the €450m will in fact be enough to allow us to do everything we need to do within the sector. And if it isn’t, then we will come back and will argue for more resources after that.”

Homes that fail to reach the new higher standards face closure.

The money for care homes will be split between €300m over five years from government resources, and €150m from public-private investments.

The move comes as opposition parties warned that the Coalition was attempting to buy votes ahead of the general election.


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