NHI Says Minister Harris Comments on HSE Cost of Care Not Accurate




Claims by the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD today, 5th October, that the reason the HSE pay themselves so much is that they provide care for more complex care cases in their homes has been described as rubbish by Nursing Homes Ireland.  “Disappointingly, it appears the Minister has been ill-informed and the briefing provided to him in this regard is inaccurate,” NHI CEO Tadhg Daly said. “It is inaccurate to state HSE nursing homes are meeting the more complex care requirements of persons requiring nursing home care. This is borne out by independent research. The Minister needs to be better briefed and shouldn’t become an apologist for the HSE without checking the facts.”


The Minister claimed today that the reason the HSE gets paid four times more in some instances than the private sector was related to dependency levels of residents in public nursing homes.  The average length of stay in all nursing homes – public, private and voluntary – is 1.9 years*. This is reflective of the high levels of frailty and dependency of persons who avail of nursing home care. The Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal) is designed to support persons with high and maximum dependency care needs.


Furthermore, independent research undertaken by the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre** highlighted private nursing homes are the majority providers of specialist dementia care and HSE operated nursing homes are more restrictive in admitting persons with higher dependency care needs. This research was undertaken with 469 nursing homes across the country, encompassing 81% of HSE nursing homes and equivalent percentage of private nursing home providers. The research also highlighted private providers were the lead in providing “purpose-built and well designed” specialist dementia care units.


It should be noted too by the Minister that the costs announced today for HSE nursing homes do not include capital and other associated costs.


The Dementia Services research states: “Curiously, HSE operated facilities which receive the highest payments for care from the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal) because they are said to accommodate those with highest dependency needs, were more restrictive than other providers in relation to admission criteria, and were more inclined to refuse admission to those not independently mobile.”


*Review of the Nursing Home Support Scheme

**An Irish National Survey of Dementia in Long-Term Residential Care, January 2015


Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is available for further comment. Contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive at 087 9082970 or 01 4699806.


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