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Health Minister’s spend appraisal must be reflected for nursing home care

Friday October 6, 2023

Health Minister’s spend appraisal must be reflected for nursing home care

6th October 2023: The Minister for Health’s warnings that the reality of healthcare budgeting must provide for the actuality of costs must be applied to nursing home care, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has warned ahead of Budget 2024. The warning was issued with the nursing home sector in Ireland being in an unprecedented crisis, with 36 private and voluntary nursing homes closures the past three years.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO said: “Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has stated providing healthcare services must be matched by a budget that reflects the reality of the costs and no apology should be offered in resourcing appropriately. He has pointed to the very considerable increase in healthcare inflation that is driving up spend for his Department. There is of course requirement to ensure the appropriate investment in our health services is in effect to ensure we can meet the continued growth in healthcare demand and provide quality care.

“Nursing home care is an integral element of a proper functioning health and social care service. We have the fastest growing older population in Europe yet 36 private and voluntary nursing homes have closed their doors the past three years, resulting in the loss of 1,094 long- and short-stay healthcare beds from our health services. Nursing homes have closed their doors because it’s been unviable for them to keep them open. The spike in healthcare inflation that the Minister referred to has brought into effect a crisis for nursing home care, with Fair Deal fees payable by the State far removed from the cost reality. Budget 2024 presents opportunity to bring the cost of care crisis in nursing home care to an end. The forthright appraisal by Minister Donnelly needs to be realised within the nursing home sector. There is absolute need to ensure the inflationary costs that are now embedded in nursing home care are reflected in the Government’s budgeting for this vital healthcare service.”

NHI’s Budget 2024 submission calls for a €191 million additional investment in nursing home care, reflecting an urgent need for an additional €201 per resident per week to secure the viability of private and voluntary nursing homes in the short term and avoid further closures of nursing homes.

Mr Daly added: “Nursing homes provide care to people with the highest dependency care needs. The Budget process provides Government with an annual opportunity to protect our most vulnerable. It is understandable and appropriate Government will hike payments to protect the most vulnerable and it would be shameful if it did not recognise the hike in nursing home care costs requires a commensurate hike in funding support to meet residents care needs.”

Media queries will be facilitated by Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive, who can be contacted at 087 9082970.  

Note for Editor