Short-sighted delivery of health services threatens to make older people suffer this Winter



State needs to show respect towards key providers of healthcare 

Nursing Homes Ireland has today, 16th November, offered partnership to the Department of Health, HSE and Emergency Department Taskforce in planning for the winter pressures that will impact upon care delivery in acute hospitals. However it warned this partnership must be based on the basis of mutual respect.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, expressed disappointment that Minister for Health Simon Harris has pulled out of attending today’s NHI Annual Conference, citing Government business, and the Department has informed no representative will be available to speak before the significant majority providers of nursing home care in Ireland. Mr Daly will be reflecting the disappointment in  his comments at the conference today.   He will express concern that the non-appearance by Minister Harris is reflective of a disrespectful approach by his Department and its State agencies towards 430 private and voluntary nursing homes that are intrinsic for healthcare delivery.  

In advance of the conference, Mr Daly expressed strong concern that a parochial attitude is being adopted in healthcare delivery and in the endeavours to alleviate A & E overcrowding. This is proving to the detriment of care of the older person.

He commented: “Back in July, the Department of Health and Minister Harris's office committed to engage with NHI “in a timely manner” as part of its winter planning process. We are now in November, winter is upon us and there is no sign of the engagement committed to. A survey we undertook at the start of the month has informed nursing homes have capacity this winter of up to 1,000 vacant beds. This is the equivalent of creating capacity of four good-sized hospitals and could play a lead role in facilitating Government’s stated objective of providing care in the community. On a consistent basis, two-thirds of the hundreds in our hospitals classified as delayed discharged are awaiting long-term nursing care. Nursing homes have the capacity and expertise to provide convalescent, rehabilitative and respite care removed from hospitals and in our communities. Yet here we are approaching into the winter period of high numbers of persons lying on trolleys within our hospital corridors and wards and engagement with the majority providers of long-term nursing care is absent. 

“It is very disappointing that the attitude taken by health stakeholders is far too often parochial. We have an Emergency Department Taskforce that has been convened for two years yet has ignored NHI calls to be represented on it and has never engaged with our sector regarding its capacity and potential to alleviate the pressures within acute hospitals. This is probably of little surprise given the co-chair Liam Doran in his recent presentation to the Oireachtas Committee on Future Healthcare on 26th October 2016 advocated phasing out the private and voluntary nursing home healthcare provision that provides 22,000 beds within our communities. This an incredulous stance given the reliance of our health services, A & E departments and older persons upon these majority providers of nursing home and specialist dementia care.

“All relationships and partnerships depend on respect and this should be the hallmark of the new Minister and his agencies. We must engage in a partnership approach to meet the sizeable challenges presented before us in meeting our population’s healthcare needs. It cannot be the Trump tactic of ‘take it or leave it’ and of building walls.”

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, is available for further comment. Contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Officer at 087 9082970 or 01 4699806. Alternatively you can contact Stephen Fitzpatrick, Q4 PR, at 01 4751444 or 086 0870501.



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