Nursing homes scheme ‘flawed’ says NHI after State spending figures released

Nursing Homes Ireland has called on the Public Accounts Committee to re-examine State spending on HSE nursing homes after figures published last week showed the HSE is paying some of its nursing homes up to seven times what it pays private and voluntary homes.

Nursing homes scheme ‘flawed’ says NHI after State spending figures released

Under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, also known as Fair Deal, the state pays the balance of a person’s nursing home costs after the individual’s contribution is paid. In publishing the figures last week the HSE acknowledged that there were “variations” in the cost of care for public and private nursing homes, with public nursing homes generally having a higher cost of care.

It said this was due to a number of factors, including reductions in long-stay public beds numbers, the need to modernise or replace a significant number of public centres and improve their environments in line with HIQA standards, the geographical location of residential placements including in areas that would not be financially viable for a private operator, and higher nurse staffing ratios and a reliance on agency staffing.

However, Nursing Homes Ireland said the figures showed “gaping discrepancies in the cost of care between HSE-run nursing homes and the private and voluntary nursing homes”.

It said in Co Laois, the average cost of a week’s care in the three HSE operated nursing homes is €2,720 per patient, as opposed to €910 in four private and voluntary nursing homes — a 199% cost differential.

NHI CEO Tadhg Daly said “the present funding model is simply unsustainable”.

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