The current 12 week delay in approving an older person under the Fair Deal nursing home scheme is compounding an already chaotic situation in A&E Departments throughout the country, Denis Naughten TD has claimed.
“At present there are patients who are deemed ‘fit’ for discharge in hospitals costing €850/night, yet the HSE won’t release nursing home beds under the fair deal scheme because they are costing €850/week. Where is the logic in that?” asks Denis Naughten.
“These fit patients are occupying hospital beds that are now urgently needed for critically ill patients lying on trollies in our A&E departments throughout the country.
“While the numbers on the waiting list were halved at the beginning of December, we are still looking at waiting times of over three months for approval under the Nursing Home Support Scheme. Similar delays last summer caused congestion in our hospitals during that relatively quiet period.
“This is yet another example of health policy on the hoof which is penny wise and pound foolish.
“If we are to a have an effectively run health service then we need to get the basic things right. By providing step down options for those who no longer need to be in hospital, then we release beds for those who need urgent medical care thereby improving the health service for all,” concluded Denis Naughten.
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister of State at the Department of Health (Kathleen Lynch)
by Deputy Denis Naughten
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 18/12/2014
* To ask the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 154 of 9 October 2014, the number of persons on the placement list for the nursing homes support scheme; the time it is taking for funding to issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Denis Naughten T.D.
On the 11th December 2014 (latest figures available) there were 1,071 people on the national placement list for funding. Funding was released on2nd December for just over 1,000 Nursing Home Support Scheme applicants reducing the waiting time for funding to 12 weeks.
I am aware that the waiting times on the placement list have grown over the last few months. This is not a satisfactory situation and I am trying to address it.
In addition to the €939m budget for the Scheme in 2014, in July this year, the HSE allocated €5 million for an initiative to improve access to appropriate care for older people. To date, this has funded over 300 transitional care beds in acute hospitals from the placement list for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme and over 200 home care packages to assist patients in the acute hospitals who require a home care package to be discharged.
The Government has provided additional funding of €25 million for 2015 to address delayed discharges, of which €10 million will be allocated to the Scheme. In the longer term this issue requires an integrated response across primary, community and residential services and my Department is working closely with the HSE to ensure that available resources are deployed in the most effective way possible.