News & Events


Home Care / Home Help

FAIR DEAL SCHEME PRESENTS A SHORT-TERM SOLUTION TO A LONG-TERM PROBLEM

Apr 03, 2015

Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), the representative body for private home care providers in Ireland, welcomes the funding announcement to ease hospital overcrowding made by the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, yesterday 2nd April. 

The Government is allocating €74 million to address hospital overcrowding, with €44 million of the total amount to be spent on providing 1,600 extra nursing home places under the Fair Deal Scheme. The remainder of funds is to provide temporary beds until June and extra community, convalescence and district hospital beds on a permanent basis.

Mr Varadkar’s announcement coincided with a major review of the Fair Deal Scheme which was recently delivered to the Department of Health and the HSE, some of which was revealed on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night. The ongoing funding of the scheme has been called into question and older people will be expected to contribute more to their nursing home bill due to the removal of the cap on the Fair deal Scheme. 

The first €36,000 euro of assets (€72,000 for a couple) is not counted in the means test for the scheme. According to the review, the Government could decrease this figure to cut the amount of State support. The amount of assets such as savings and properties that currently have to be contributed under the scheme is capped at 7.5% - according to the yet to be published review this could be increased to 10%.

Commenting on the yesterday’s announcement and the funding of the Fair Deal Scheme, Michael Harty, Chair, Home & Community Care Ireland (HCCI), said: “While the HCCI is in support of measures that ease hospital overcrowding and the bed-blocking crisis, we feel that this is a short-term answer to free up beds without any real long-term benefit. In actual fact, most nursing homes are suffering capacity issues and many beds available in nursing homes will have to be decommissioned in the coming months for not meeting HIQA standards. For a meaningful solution to be reached, the Government must think beyond the summer months”.

He continues: “The only solution is a Fair Deal Scheme that includes home care provision and gives older people access to both home care packages as well as nursing home care. We are disappointed that yesterday’s funding announcement did not include home care as an option – this diminishes the role of home care providers in the Irish health sector. For a long term solution, extra funding for home care packages must be included in the health budget for 2016”.