Dáil debates

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

2:30 pm

Photo of Seán PowerSeán Power (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)

The interdepartmental working group was established to review a number of complex and fundamental policy issues pertaining to long-term care for older people. Some of these issues were the subject of the Mercer report on financing long-term care and the O'Shea review of the nursing home subvention scheme. Following consideration of the group's report, a series of key principles to inform policy was endorsed by the Government and incorporated into the new social partnership agreement, Towards 2016.

These principles include, for example, that there should be one standardised national needs assessment for older people needing care. The use of community and home-based care should be maximised. Sheltered housing options will be encouraged. Where residential care is required, it should be quality care and there should be appropriate and equitable levels of co-payment by care recipients based on a national standardised financial assessment. The level of support for residential care should be indifferent as to whether that care is in a public or private facility. The financial model to support any new arrangements must also be financially sustainable.

That agreement also notes the steps which have already been taken by the Government to improve services for older people this year, including the special funding package of €150 million announced in budget 2006. Reflecting the new emphasis on home and day care, almost three quarters of this funding is being invested in community care supports, such as home care packages, home helps and day and respite care.

The interdepartmental group has continued to meet to help draw up proposals for a new policy on long-term care based on the principles endorsed by Government and the social partners. I plan to bring proposals to Government as soon as possible. When the Government has finished its consideration, I expect to be in a position to publish the report of the group.


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