NHI Statement re Oireachtas Health Committee & Fair Deal (12 February 2015)

Director General has warned 2,200 will be waiting for funding support by year end and period will be 20 weeks

Inevitable consequences for acute services

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, today, 12th February stated: “Older person care is consistently veering towards crisis and this is manifestation of failure to appropriately resource for our older population’s healthcare requirements. The Government must finally show the required conviction to grasp the issue and ensure the Fair Deal scheme budget meets health needs of older people. This is about health service delivery and the most efficient use of health spend. Fair Deal delivers efficient and transparent spend within the health budget – 80% more cost effective than spend in acute hospitals – while ensuring older persons are provided with care appropriate to their healthcare requirements. Minister Lynch and Mr O’Brien have acknowledged that Fair Deal must be demand-led and if we want to ensure we finally get on top of the A & E crises that beset the health system on a constant basis this has to become reality.

“Government cannot continue to overlook the under-resourcing of the Fair Deal scheme. Timely access to the specialist, dedicated care in the community is integral to health service delivery. It is damning that the Department of Health’s A & E Emergency Taskforce has no representation from the private and voluntary nursing home sector, with utilisation of its 23,000 beds in communities across Ireland being integral to addressing problems besetting our acute hospitals. Long-standing independent research has pointed to the huge growth in requirement for nursing home care that is constantly growing in tandem with significant rise in our older population. The Department of Health warned Minister Varadkar last July 7,600 additional beds will be required to year 2021. NHI’s long-standing call for establishment of a forum that will bring stakeholders together to plan for the long-term residential care requirements of our older population has been avoided. Responsible planning and foresight is absent from the health culture within Ireland and this is highlighted in the repeating overcrowding crises occurring within acute care. The onus is upon the Government to lead in this regard and the consequences of failure to do so will be catastrophic for health services and society.”