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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020

Warning of future nursing homes crisis if 'action isn't taken now'

Nursing home representatives believe more resources are needed to prevent future shortages.

Image: nursing home via S

NURSING HOME REPRESENTATIVES have called on the government to act now to prevent a future nursing home crisis.

They argue that funding for long-term residential care has been ‘illogically cut’, despite the need to prepare for the requirements of an ageing population.

The CSO has previously predicted that the number of people aged over 65 could double by the start of the 2030s.

Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) met with TDs and Senators this afternoon during an Oireachtas Open Day to express their concerns.

“It is imperative we plan now to meet ongoing and significant challenges and issues that are arising,” CEO Tadhg Daly said.

“A key aspect of today’s event has been to explain to TDs and Senators the severe implications of reducing the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal) annual budget by €107 million since 2012.

Despite HSE warnings of a significant national deficit in nursing home beds by 2016 and under supply in urban centres, the resourcing to support people requiring nursing home care is illogically being cut.

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch told the Dáil earlier last week that work on a review of the fair deal scheme is on-going, and is expected to be completed within the coming months.

The group has been calling for a Forum on Long-Term Residential Care since last year.

This will allow the sector and government to plan for the need for increased capacity and other future requirements.

Daly also expressed concern that “the State, through the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) exerts significant control and influence over the rates currently paid for residential care in the private and voluntary sector”.

“The reality is the State wishes to purchase care from the private and voluntary sector for an average fee that is up to 50% below that provided to public nursing homes,” Daly claimed, and that it is placing “undue pressure” on private and voluntary nursing homes.

Read: Missing British pensioner turns up at D-Day events in France >

Last year: Nursing home owners to start knocking on politicians’ doors over ‘crisis in care’ >

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Nicky Ryan

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