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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 18 February, 2019
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The HSE has been offered an additional 1,000 beds this winter

The offer has been made by Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI).

shutterstock_175551272 Source: Shutterstock/Stokkete

THE HSE HAS been offered an additional 1,000 beds in Irish nursing homes this winter to alleviate overcrowding in state hospitals.

The suggestion has been put forward by chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly.

In a statement the organisation said it has today “offered partnership to the Department of Health, HSE and Emergency Department Taskforce in planning for the winter pressures… in acute hospitals”.

It’s understood that the NHI beds have not been included in the HSE’s planning for the winter months to come.

The NHI is today holding its annual conference at the Citywest Hotel in west Dublin.

Kelly this morning expressed his “disappointment” that Minister for Health Simon Harris will not be appearing at that conference having cited “government business”.

Nursing Homes Annual Confe Tadhg Daly Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“Back in July, the Department of Health and Minister Harris’s office committed to engage with the NHI ‘in a timely manner’ as part of its winter planning process. We are now in November, winter is upon us and there is no sign of the engagement committed to,” Daly said.

A survey we undertook at the start of the month has informed nursing homes have capacity this winter of up to 1,000 vacant beds. This is the equivalent of creating capacity of four good-sized hospitals and could play a lead role in facilitating Government’s stated objective of providing care in the community.
Nursing homes have the capacity and expertise to provide convalescent, rehabilitative and respite care removed from hospitals and in our communities. Yet here we are approaching into the winter period of high numbers of persons lying on trolleys within our hospital corridors and wards and engagement with the majority providers of long-term nursing care is absent.

Daly added that he finds it “disappointing” that a “parochial attitude” has been taken by stakeholders with regard to the issue.

“The HSE and the NHI are in constant communication in relation to private nursing home bed availability,” a HSE spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

In the East Coast the HSE has developed a Bed Bureau, an IT-based system, which allows for all private nursing homes to register vacancies and which in turn allows the hospital and community services to identify and provide information to patients and families on their choice of care if they require residential services.
In addition the HSE nationally, approves 167 applications on average weekly for patients to move to private nursing homes for Transitional Care for periods of three-to-four weeks on average. Some factors must be taken into account including where private nursing homes are needing top up charges over and above the rate approved through the Nursing Home Support Scheme. Also there are some nursing homes who may decline the provision of service to the patient due to their level of complexity.
The HSE will continue to work closely with NHI to maximise this resource and to ensure that suitable patients move to appropriate residential care, taking account of their choice and where such nursing homes have the ability to provide for their care needs.

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