Seanad debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Adjournment Matters

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

4:20 pm

Photo of Martin ConwayMartin Conway (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I apologise for being late. I was in the Merrion Hotel. Secretary of State Clinton is in residence there.

I recently met a family that was taken aback after being asked to pay ¤25 a week in addition to what the Government is paying to nursing homes under the fair deal scheme. As I do not have a huge knowledge of the intricacies of the scheme, perhaps I am wrong in my understanding that the arrangement with nursing homes is that all bills relating to a person's medicine and care, etc., are discharged by the State. I understand that people declare their means and their assets, including the moneys they have in the bank, when they enter into the scheme and the figures to be paid by such people and by the State are determined on that basis. The family in this case was recently asked to pay an additional ¤100 a month. Those involved feel this is unjustified because their loved one who is in the nursing home had a small amount of disposable income, but that is now gone. The explanation they have been given is that this money is needed to cover the cost of providing additional services to their loved one.

I am sure the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, is in a position to provide the clarity I am looking for. Is this request for an additional payment appropriate and proper? Is it legal? If it is contrary to the ethos of the scheme, what means of recourse are open to the family to try to get this dealt with? If it is not possible to get the money paid back, the family would at least like to prevent this from happening in the future. If this request is being made in one nursing home, I am sure it is being made in many others. Perhaps some sort of audit or investigation is required. I know the Minister of State is deeply committed to the care of the elderly. I am sure she will be most anxious to ensure proper and appropriate things are being done. I look forward to hearing her response.


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