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Nursing Home Representatives gathered outside Dáil Éireann ahead of motion calling for Government action to halt nursing home closures

Wednesday June 28, 2023

NHI welcomes Government acceptance of crisis and now calls for urgent action to address it

Tuesday 27 June 2023: Nursing Home Representatives will gather outside Leinster House today ahead of an opposition motion calling for urgent action to halt nursing home closures. The Government is not expected to oppose the motion which recognises the funding crisis affecting nursing homes and calls for an urgent review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism.

The motion was tabled by the opposition health spokesperson, Sinn Féin Deputy David Cullinane T.D. following a PwC report commissioned by NHI which found that 31 nursing homes and 915 resident beds have closed in the past three years. The report also found that nursing home operational costs for care per resident have increased by 36% and new bed development costs have increased by more than 45% per bed since 2017.

Sinn Fein’s motion also calls for the Government to:

  • 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.
  • Fund hospitals to formalise HSE contract beds in local nursing where appropriate capacity is available in nursing homes.
  • Review public funding arrangements for long-term nursing home care to provide better pay and conditions for workers, quality of care for residents, and maintain viability in the sector.

Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland said; ‘The fact the Government has accepted this motion is an acknowledgement of the crisis in nursing home care. However, the recognition of the crisis, which has manifested in the closure of over 30 nursing homes the past three years, rings hollow without urgent action being undertaken, as put forward within the motion. The motion and debate stem from a national emergency and Government recognition must be followed by Government action.

The situation for nursing homes is extremely serious and we are gravely concerned about the future viability of the sector. Unless action is taken now, further nursing home closures will take place. More residents will lose their homes, causing great upset and trauma. Staff will lose their jobs and communities vital services. The Government urgently need to provide the necessary funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund 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 for well over a year 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, which frees up acute bed capacity. Over the past three years, 900 beds have been removed from communities and the healthcare system, limiting choice available to people requiring the highly specialised care provided by nursing homes.’’