Fair Deal crisis escalates as Govt fails to press ahead with pricing agreement

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Fair Deal crisis escalates as Govt fails to press ahead with pricing agreement

Waiting times for a place in a nursing home has doubled from 4 weeks to 8 weeks

Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry is warning of further delays for Fair Deal applicants because the government has failed to confirm when the pricing review for the scheme will be published.  

The report was submitted to the Minister for Older People on May 30 but there has been no engagement between either the Minister or the Department of Health with Nursing Homes Ireland over the summer months.

Deputy Mac Sharry commented, “Over the last three months we have seen waiting times for a place in a nursing home double from 4 weeks to 8 weeks, with some parts of the country experiencing waits of up to 12 weeks.  This is an alarming escalation in a very short period of time, and points to serious issues within the system.

“The last thing we need is a repeat of what happened in 2014 when the numbers waiting for a nursing home placement went from 654 in February of that year to 2,114 by the following October. If the rate of increase we have seen over three months continues, well over 1,000 people will be waiting by September.

“Families have been contacting my office frustrated by the delays in the system.  The HSE has confirmed to me that the current waiting time for older people securing a place in a nursing home once they have been approved for funding is between six and seven weeks.  However, the application process itself can prove to be cumbersome and can cause delays in approval.

“In addition to this, the government is now stalling on the publication of pricing review for Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Fair Deal).  Considering how important the scheme has been over the past ten years, the government should not be delaying on publishing the pricing review.  Minister Daly needs to engage with Nursing Homes Ireland as a matter of priority, or risk increasing the current crisis in the Fair Deal scheme”, concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.