Health spend warnings emphasise critical importance of adequately resourcing older person care to enable healthcare delivery

 

Budget 2015 opportunity to address older person crisis must be a priority & be grasped

 

Today’s reports, 12th September, warning of consequences of further cuts in health spend in 2015 further emphasise requirement to plan for our ageing population and for the increasing numbers of older persons to have timely access to nursing home care, enabling healthcare delivery for wider population. NHI states the reduction in Fair Deal 2014 budget is having a very serious impact upon our health services and this is further evident from today’s published INMO figures outlining 19% increase in number of patients on hospital trolleys in August.

 

Today’s reports warn of requirement to appropriately resource older person care, stating the growth in numbers growing older will lead to an additional funding requirement of about €200 million per year for the health service between 2015 and 2017.

 

The Irish Times today quotes Department of Health’s submission to the Department of Public Expenditure: “It is clear that if a person’s healthcare needs are not met in a timely and appropriate manner, with community-based supports or timely elective interventions they may deteriorate, and present with greater levels of acuity and complexity, and require more expensive acute treatment.”  

 

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “NHI has consistently stated requirement to ensure older persons can access the specialist care provided in their local communities by nursing homes plays a critical role in a proper-functioning health service. However in ensuring access to nursing home care, we are in reverse. The briefing documents published last week by Department of Health state Fair Deal payment approval will move from 7 – 8 weeks to 14 – 16 weeks by year end. Older people who have been assessed by the HSE as requiring nursing home care  are already waiting three months. This is unacceptable. It is leading to deterioration in older persons physical and psychological health. Such delays have very significant consequences for the wider health service, with the HSE already reporting an upward trend in numbers delayed discharge and 78% of such persons awaiting nursing home care.”

 

He adds: “At the start of the year the Fair Deal budget was significantly cut and sadly our warnings advising of implication of this illogical measure have come to fruition. It is very evident the reduction in Fair Deal budget has had a very serious knock-on effect for our health services. We warned the budget cut would unavoidably lead to an increase in number of older persons presenting to acute hospitals and have detrimental consequences for older persons health and wellbeing. Our warning was over 900 fewer persons would be supported for nursing home care by year end and this was confirmed within the Department briefing provided to Minister.”

 

“There is an opportunity to seriously address the present crisis in older person care in the coming weeks on Budget Day. Budget 2015 can deliver reassurance to older people by ensuring Fair Deal in the year ahead is appropriately resourced to ensure they can access nursing home care in a timely manner. This must be a priority and must be grasped. Ensuring this can lead to a positive impact upon health service delivery and spend, addressing the high number of persons delayed discharged within our acute hospitals. Such an approach would be responsible, appropriate and play a role in supporting Government commitment to ensure Ireland is best small country in the world to grow old.”

 

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is available for further interview. For further information contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Officer at 01 4292570 or 087 9082970.

 

 

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