Nursing Homes Ireland Says Increasing Fair Deal Waiting List Will Backfire As Happened Before When Varadkar was Minister for Health


Monday 17 December 2018:

According to reports, the HSE is seeking to increase waiting times for the Fair Deal Scheme beyond the current four-week period as part of proposals contained in the draft 2019 service plan for the health service.  According to the reports, the plan is due to be signed off at a Government Cabinet meeting tomorrow.


Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), the representative body for the private and voluntary nursing home sector, said this will drive waiting lists and trolley numbers over the edge as happened before four years ago when Taoiseach Varadkar was Minister for Health.  NHI says the Government should reject this reported idea as it will just be counterproductive with great hardship to patients and their families.


Commenting on the reports, Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, said, “If older people have to wait longer than four weeks to access a bed under the nursing home support scheme, it will exacerbate not improve delayed discharges and record overcrowding in our hospitals. This would be a classic case of history repeating itself. Four years ago, when the Taoiseach was Minister for Health, older people had to wait months to access a bed under the nursing home support scheme because of targeting the Fair Deal budget. However, instead of saving money, the increase in Fair Deal waiting times ended up costing the health service millions of euro extra every week because of additional delayed discharge costs.  Waiting lists went crazy with hardship for patients and their families.”


“Given the Taoiseach saw this first-hand four years ago when he was Minister for Health, he shouldn’t let the Government make the same mistake twice.  Also, one side of the Department of Health says it wants to do something about delayed discharges, while another side of the same Department is proposing delays in Fair Deal funding approvals.  This makes no sense and is another case of the Department of Health talking out of both sides of its mouth.  If the Government is serious about tackling waiting lists and delayed discharges, it should instruct the Minister for Health to publish the hidden National Treatment Purchase Fund’s review of its pricing mechanism for long-term residential care in private and voluntary nursing homes.”









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