HSE nursing homes are charging top dollar

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HSE nursing homes in County Limerick are being paid 83 per cent more to provide care per person than their private and voluntary counterparts.

New figures published by the HSE give a breakdown of the fees payable to its nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme with its two nursing homes in County Limerick charging €1,607 a week.

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The average fee paid to the 23 private and voluntary nursing homes operating within the county was €877 a week. This represents a price differential of 83 per cent.

Private and voluntary nursing homes are required to negotiate the fees payable to them under the Fair Deal scheme with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). However, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) insist that the fees payable to HSE nursing homes are not subject to negotiation or oversight, with the HSE being the budget-holder and payee.

NHI chief executive Tadhg Daly reiterated the call for the review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism being undertaken by the NTPF, which is now two-years past its deadline for completion, to be published immediately.

“The Fair Deal budget is coming under severe pressure and there have been reports that older people requiring access to nursing home care will have their funding support delayed as the HSE grapples with the financial pressure. Yet across Ireland, it is paying its own nursing homes twice the fees payable to private and voluntary nursing homes.

“The HSE continues to utilise the €1 billion Fair Deal budget to increase payments to its nursing homes minus accountability,” Mr Daly claimed.