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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
older woman image via
no fair deal

The waiting list for nursing home money is getting even longer

The budget for the scheme is capped and those on the waiting list are forced to foot a bill of €13,000 a year until they’re approved.

OLDER PEOPLE APPLYING for the Fair Deal nursing home support today will not receive a payment until March 2015.

This means elderly people will have to fund their own nursing home care until that time, to the tune of €13,ooo a year.

Independent TD Denis Naughten has pointed out that the budget for this scheme is capped at just over €9 million this year and the same budget is planned for 2015.

Right now, there are 1,200 people waiting over 15 weeks for their payment through the scheme, with 60 older people a week being added to the waiting list.

“There will be no additional money so by next year it’ll have gotten worse,” the TD told

Under the initiative, a person who needs nursing home care can make a contribution towards the cost while the State pays the balance. While they wait for their government funding, the older person, or their family, have to find funds to meet a bill of €13,000 for their nursing home care until the scheme’s financial support kicks in.

“I know of a family and they have older people at home who are not really fit to be at home, who need long term nursing care and they just can’t afford to put them into a home,”   Naughten told us.

People don’t have €13,000 and lots of people who went in didn’t realise that the waiting list was so long. In one case, a person had to take their elderly relative out of a nursing home as they just didn’t have the money to pay anymore.

Alone, the charity which supports older people in need yesterday also condemned the length of the waiting list.

Hospital beds

“Older people are waiting over four months to access a bed under the nursing home support scheme, which in some cases is forcing them to occupy beds in hospitals already struggling to cope with emergencies and planned surgeries,” commented Naughten.

“There are currently just short of 700 patients who are deemed ‘fit’ for discharge in hospitals costing €850 per night, yet the HSE won’t release nursing home beds under the fair deal scheme because they are costing €850 per week.”

This is costing the health service €4 million every week in order to save €600,000.

“This is yet another example of health policy which is penny wise and pound foolish. If we are to a have an effectively run health service then we need to get the basic things right, ” added Denis Naughten.

Last week, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the main issue with the scheme is that it is budget-capped and “when the budget runs out that is part of the big problem”.

Read: Nursing home waiting lists are ‘spiralling out of control’>

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