Fair Deal crisis generating national headlines

 

Click to read Irish Times front page article published today, 28th October headlined: Fair Deal waiting list triples since January. It states: "The number of people waiting to access the Fair Deal scheme has tripled since the start of the year, prompting claims that the system of funding nursing home care for older people is in crisis."

Independent TD Denis Naughten states within article he is aware of families who had their elderly relatives readmitted to hospital after they were unable to pay for nursing home care while on the waiting list for Fair Deal funding release. "It's a complete and utter mess," he is quoted. "It doesn't make any sense to keep a person in an acute hospital bed costing €850 a night when they could be in a nursing home costing that amount per week." 

The article quotes NHI as stating with 100 people per forthnight being added to the numbers Fair Deal approved but awaiting payment, the crisis in elderly care is spiralling out of control. "Older persons are already waiting months in acute hospials unnecessarily, arising from failure to adequaterly resource Fair Deal," Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is quoted. "We will now be looking at a six month waiting period and maybe beyond for financial support approval in 2015."

 

The Sunday Independent article on Sunday 26th October headlined Fair Deal payment waiting list surges by more than 100 people a fortnight similarly informs of increase in numbers awaiting Fair Deal payment. Tadhg Daly is quoted within article: "It is incredulous and defies logic to see no firm commitment to increase the resourcing of the Fair Deal scheme. It is very disappointing and surprising that the Government hasn't got a grip on this issue in the 2015 budget."

 

On Saturday with Brian Dowling, RTE Radio 1, Saturday October 25th, Minister Varadkar was queried in respect of the growing numbers delayed discharged in our acute hospitals. Minister Varadkar stated Fair Deal is a budget capped scheme and "at a certain moment of time you run up against that budget cap and you don't have the resources to continue what you'd like to do so it does require additional resources". Listen back to the interview here.  

 

On Thursday 23rd October Drivetime, RTE Radio 1, Health Policy Analyst Sara Burke assessed the extraordinary growth in numbers on Fair Deal payment listing and impact it is having upon wider health services. She advised of sick old people - amongst our most vulnerable in society - not receiving the appropriate care in the appropriate setting because of the Fair Deal crisis, describing the situation as unacceptable. She described an "essential flaw" with Fair Deal being the capping of the budget, so while we have the fastest growing ageing population in Europe, the scheme's budget is not coping with growing requirement for nursing home care. She said it has now reached "tipping point", with people now only availing of a place when somebody leaves the scheme. She also advised of cost pressures being brought to bear upon private and voluntary nursing homes, with NTPF squeezing prices and cost of implementation of HIQA national standards not being incorporated in fee to provide care. 

 

The coverage over the past week follows on from the national coverage in the Irish Daily MailIrish ExaminerIrish Independent and Sunday Business Post arising from NHI statement - Crisis in elderly care will spiral out of control - regarding Government failure to commit additional resources to Fair Deal 2015. 

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