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NHI statement re charges for services

Monday February 13, 2023

13th February 2023: The Fair Deal pricing mechanism is not fit for purpose. Successive reports going back over a decade have pointed to the narrow definition it has applied in defining the services that are encompassed within the fee payable for the provision of nursing home care. In 2010, the Office of the Ombudsman brought forward concerns in this regard, stating there appeared to have been virtually no debate in the Oireachtas regarding the definition of services to be covered by the scheme. 13 years on from its inception, Fair Deal’s limited definition of nursing home care services remains in effect.

As articulated by the regulator HIQA, nursing homes have attained vital healthcare services for nursing home residents on a per fee basis. This is because access to vital services to support the health and social care needs of people in our nursing homes has been deprioritised because of limited resources within community healthcare services. The Covid19 Expert Panel recommended enhanced access to such services be provided to residents in nursing homes. Charges for such services are listed in the contract for care agreed between the nursing home and the resident or their representative. There is regulatory requirement for contracts to be clear, unambiguous and to contain full details of the services to be provided to the resident. Contracts are subject to inspection under the regulations by the independent regulator HIQA.

Nursing Homes Ireland has called on successive Governments to bring a forum together to bring stakeholders around the table to ensure we plan for the residential care needs of our older population. The requirement to engage stakeholders to ensure we are positioned to meet the continued growth in demand for nursing home care and associated care services, coupled with the rapid increase in our older population, becomes increasingly imperative day-by-day. There is an onus upon Government to lead in ensuring a sustainable nursing home sector, with a fit-for-purpose funding mechanism that is commensurate with resident care needs and fulfils a critical role in addressing staffing challenges, is in effect.

Note for the Editor

NHI has produced a Guide to Nursing Home Charges for Fair Deal (NHSS) Residents for the general public to utilise. It informs regarding:

  • What the Fair Deal covers and does not cover
  • Why a charge might be applied for services that should be covered by Medical Card
  • The importance of the contract for care in informing regarding services to be covered by any charge applicable
  • What a person should do if am not happy with the charges or the services.

Download NHI Guide to Charges for Fair Deal (NHSS) Residents.