Full disclosure required regarding escalating expenditure for HSE nursing homesTuesday October 29, 2019
NHI accuses HSE of news management as €700m bill muted for refurbishment works
Nursing Homes Ireland today, 29th October, called on the Public Accounts Committee to question the HSE and the Department of Health to achieve full disclosure regarding the costs to bring HSE nursing homes up to required regulatory standards.
It follows media reports that the €385 million investment earmarked for HSE nursing homes announced in 2016 has escalated and the necessary works will not be completed by the regulatory compliance deadline of 2021. A few weeks ago reports said the Bill was now more than €700 million and homes would not meet the 2021 deadline.
NHI said further extension of the deadline for compliance will be an affront to independent healthcare regulation. The organisation also noted that the Minister for Finance did not make any reference to the increased expenditure in his recent Budget speech or accompanying documents.
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO said: “Like the National Children’s Hospital expenditure, the truth of the cost of public nursing homes only comes in instalments. The PAC and the Oireachtas Health Committee, like on the children’s hospital, need to investigate what is the cost of the investment now to bring HSE nursing homes up to physical environment regulatory standards.”
“€700 million will represent wanton waste of the taxpayers’ money. If the Fair Deal was reformed, further refurbishment of further public nursing homes would be unnecessary as private and voluntary nursing homes could fulfil the requirement.”
“We are being drip fed that the State’s nursing homes, which are paid fees that are twice those payable to private and voluntary counterparts, will not meet the already extended deadlines for meeting standards and that the capital expenditure entailed is out of control. Reports a number of weeks ago indicated the cost has effectively doubled and is close to the €700 million mark. But we have had no clarity from either the HSE or the Department of Health since. We need transparency and accountability. This is public money and the wisdom of spending €700 million to deliver negligible additional capacity must come under scrutiny. Is anybody prepared to disclose what the spend entailed is and ask the hard questions required. The indications are the required spending is moving towards children’s hospital levels.”
Mr Daly added: “We are already aware the HSE has been communicating to HIQA that it’s nursing homes will not meet the extended deadline. What will the response of the independent regulator be? It will be fundamentally compromised if it facilitates further extension of the regulatory deadline. As HIQA itself has stated, smaller nursing homes have closed their doors because they have not had the means to undertake required works. Are we to have a situation whereby the State dictates to the independent regulator how regulations will be applied?”
For further information, contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive at 01 4699806 or 087 9082970.
The Government had to extend the original 2015 deadline for compliance with the standards, pushing it to 2021 and in doing so announced ‘unprecedented’ investment in public nursing homes.