BARRY WELCOMES COMMITMENT TO FAIR DEAL SCHEME
CORK East FG T.D. Tom Barry has welcomed Minister James Reilly’s promise to continue accepting and processing applications under the Fair Deal (Nursing Home Support) Scheme.
Deputy Barry said: “Minister Reilly has highlighted a number of financial issues that need urgent attention, but he has committed to approving applications while those issues are being addressed. As of mid-May, there were 22,277 people participating in the scheme; up from 21,421 at the end of 2010. Minister Reilly anticipates that that figure will increase to 24,000 by the end of this year.
“The Fair Deal Scheme hit the headlines in May when the Minister became aware of a potentially serious shortfall in the 2011 budget for the scheme. The last government had, the Minister said ‘grossly’ under-provided for the scheme. In addition, there was a greater than expected demand and, thirdly, it was discovered that the provision of ancillary services in nursing homes – including physiotherapy, Occupational and Speech and Language Therapy, and drugs – were being funded through Fair Deal, when they should not have been.
“The most significant factors, however, appear to be an increase in nursing home costs and an unexpected increase in the average length of stay for nursing home patients; up from 2.5 years in 2009 to 4 years at present. I agree with Minister Reilly that it is unacceptable that, despite the current economic climate, private nursing homes received price increases over the last nine months. The annual costs of the increases is estimated at €20 million and I welcome the fact that the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has been instructed to renegotiate these price increases on the government’s behalf.”