Anniversary of Motion by Government to Support Nursing Homes, Government Failure to Act

Thursday June 27, 2024

It has been one year to the date that a resolution was passed by Dail Eireann urging action by the Government to stop further nursing homes closures, yet nothing has happened.

A year ago, Nursing Home Representatives gathered outside Leinster House ahead of an opposition motion to halt nursing home closures. The motion, tabled by opposition Health Spokesperson for Sinn Fein, David Cullinane, sought to recognise the funding crisis affecting nursing home care and called for an urgent review of Fair Deal.

On the anniversary of the motion, there has been inaction on the Government’s behalf to help resolve the urgent issues facing nursing home care. Despite accepting the motion, the Government has failed to address the urgent issues still jeopardising the future of the nursing home care. Our ask remains:

  • Reform the pricing mechanism to enable Fair Deal rates to be based on resource allocation that is reflective of a resident’s individual care needs.
  • Residents in nursing homes must not be discriminated against in respect of provision of services including physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and aids and appliances. Deliver equal access to primary care services, equipment, aids & appliances for all older people regardless of whether they are living at home or in a public, private, or voluntary nursing home.
  • To sustain local nursing home services and to stabilise the sector in the coming years, private and voluntary nursing homes require an immediate “Stabilisation Fund” of €265 million. This equates to increased Fair Deal funding of €270 per resident per week.
  • The role of the Healthcare Assistant needs to be recognised as a professional occupation and nursing homes need to be properly resourced through the Fair Deal scheme to enable them to appropriately remunerate care staff­.

Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland said:

“Despite Government accepting the motion, we are still seeing nursing homes close, residents losing their homes and service, and staff losing jobs, causing great upset to residents and families in local communities.

A year on, the situation for nursing homes remains extremely serious. Nursing home providers remain gravely concerned about the future viability of the sector. Unless immediate action is taken now, it is inevitable that further nursing home closures will take place.”

The Government urgently need to provide the necessary funding under Fair Deal to stem the tide of closures and bring fees payable in line with the reality of nursing home care costs. It must also focus on bringing into effect a Fair Deal pricing mechanism that reflects the reality of residents’ care needs. This is an entirely fair and reasonable ask but has never come into being.”

The continued effective inaction by Government will result in more older people being forced to move from their homes, out of their communities and away from their families. It will also result in greater pressure on our healthcare system as nursing homes facilitate the discharge of older persons from acute hospital settings either through long term residential care or step-down rehabilitation, ensuring that they receive the right care in the right place which frees up acute bed capacity.”

Over the past five years, 1,800 beds have been removed from local communities and the healthcare system, limiting choice available to people requiring the highly specialised care provided by nursing homes.’’