Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Health

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Oversight

Photo of Michelle MulherinMichelle Mulherin (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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153. To ask the Minister for Health the measures that have been taken to address the delays in the fair deal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46622/14]

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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The HSE controls the release of funding to manage the funds that are available across the course of the year. Funding is released to approved applicants according to their place, in order of their approval date, on the national placement list. Over the course of the year to date, demand has exceeded what could be funded and the national placement list has grown as a result.

I am aware that waiting times on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme placement list are now at around 14 weeks. This is not a satisfactory situation and I am trying to address it.

In July this year, the HSE allocated €5 million for an initiative to improve access to appropriate care for older people. To date, this has funded over 300 transitional care beds for patients in acute hospitals from the placement list for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme and over 200 home care packages to assist patients in the acute hospitals who require a home care package to be discharged.

The Government has provided additional funding of €25 million in 2015 to address delayed discharges, of which €10 million will be allocated to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. This is expected to reduce the waiting times that currently apply. In the longer term this issue requires an integrated response across primary, community, and residential services and my Department is working closely with the HSE to ensure that available resources are deployed in the most effective way possible.

The Review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme which is currently underway will consider the future funding and sustainability of the Scheme as well as how community and residential services are balanced. This Review will be completed in the coming months.


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