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Health Budget 2024: Government misjudgment will intensify crisis in healthcare 

Wednesday October 11, 2023

Health Budget 2024: Government misjudgment will intensify crisis in healthcare 

11th October 2023: Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has stated Budget 2024 is a misjudgement by Government that will not address the crisis in nursing home care that will continue have a detrimental impact upon care of our older population and broader health and social care services.

Reacting to Budget 2024, NHI CEO Tadhg Daly said: “We note the additional €45 million committed to nursing home care under Budget 2024. While noting this is a step in the right direction, it is nowhere near what is required to recognise the reality of the enormous increase in costs that have occurred within our sector. These incessant cost pressures have ultimately resulted in the closure of twenty-nine private and voluntary nursing homes the past three years with the loss of 882 vital community healthcare beds. Announcing the Health Budget, Minister Donnelly referenced a 20% increase in healthcare inflation that health services are dealing with. The nursing home sector is also contending with such inflationary costs and huge hikes in day-to-day operational costs such as staffing, food, electricity, heating and insurance. And the State itself is substantially increasing the nursing home sectors cost base through measures, which are welcomed but require appropriate resourcing, such as the national minimum wage, pension auto enrolment, sick pay. As per our pre-Budget submission, analysis undertaken by PwC informs operational costs within the nursing home sector increased by 36% over a five-year period and the requirement presented for an additional €201 per resident, per week, equated to €191 million increase in the Fair Deal budget, to bring into effect fees commensurate with the reality of resident care costs. It is bitterly disappointing the outcome of Budget 2024 is the State funding for the provision of nursing home care will continue to not reflect the reality of resident care costs and nursing homes will continue to struggle for survival and more closures will arise.

“Budget 2024 represents a misjudgement by Government that will not quell the crisis in nursing home care in Ireland. Nursing homes struggle for survival will aggravate the tremendous strain upon our health and social care services and impact upon people seeking timely access to the round-the-clock specialised clinical, health and social care services provided by nursing homes. Already we are aware of people experiencing months of delay in accessing nursing home care and the closure of nursing homes and their beds is impacting upon hospital capacity to facilitate timely discharges back into community care.

“We await further detail regarding a dedicated fund announced by Minister Butler to support nursing homes in meeting costs to meet regulatory requirements and will engage with the Minister and her Department.

“We remain committed to constructive engagement with Minister Butler and her Department to address this crisis and support older people in receiving the best possible nursing home care, where required.”

Tadhg Daly is available for further interview. Media requests will be facilitated by Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive, who can be contacted at 087 9082970.