Exclusion of Nursing Homes from Emergency Taskforce Unfathomable

Nursing Homes Ireland, the representative organisation for 440 private and voluntary nursing homes providing 23,000 residential care beds across the country, has been notified by Department of Health Officials it will not be included on the Department’s Emergency Taskforce.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO stated: “It is unfathomable as to how a viable solution will emerge to the waiting lists crisis when all the participants aren’t at the table. It equates to opening a hospital with politicians, managers, doctors and nurses all present but there being no beds in the wards. This recent crisis has highlighted hundreds of older people in hospitals awaiting access to nursing home care. The numbers requiring this specialist care will grow rapidly in a short period and this is acknowledged by the Department. Yet here we have a Taskforce looking at addressing the issue but excluding the key sector providing nursing home care in our communities. NHI and our Members have played a lead role in supporting the HSE in addressing the A & E crisis as collectively we seek to enable older people gain more timely access to nursing home care. Furthermore, Minister Lynch has stated she has no issue with our participation on the Taskforce, acknowledging we are key to addressing the issue of overcrowding*. It is completely illogical that the planning to address the very severe issues arising in healthcare that are affecting hundreds of older people requiring nursing home care and putting their lives at risk will ignore the input of the representative body for thousands of specialist healthcare providers in our local communities.”

“Our sector can play a bigger role as part of a system-wide discussion on managing discharges and the crisis in our hospitals. It is beyond me how the Minister for Health hopes to find a viable solution quickly when there is a failure to engage with all the potential solutions. The suffering of older people and their families because they are in inappropriate high-risk settings and unable to access nursing home care in a timely manner must be alleviated as quickly as possible and can only be done through wider consultation.”

“Unfortunately, this decision to exclude voluntary and private nursing homes is part of an ongoing failure to plan for our growing ageing population. A much wider Taskforce needs to be established with all parties, including representatives of older people, patients, nursing homes and all the arms of the State to plan for the future of care as growing numbers of people live to greater ages.”