NHI stresses central role of nursing home care in healthcare delivery to Minister Varadkar



6th November 2014

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar addressed 400 delegates from the private and voluntary nursing home sector at the NHI Annual Conference 2014 that took place today at Citywest Hotel, Thursday 7th November.  


Speaking at the event, Minister Varadkar said: “There are currently over 27,000 people in residential care with the majority in private and voluntary nursing homes. Overall, the sector should be proud of its facilities, and of the excellent service it gives to residents and their families. Each year, the total number of persons over the age of 65 grows by around 20,000. This is something to be celebrated, but it also presents challenges.


“The current Review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme is looking at a range of issues including future financing of supports for older people. I am not satisfied that people and families have to wait 15 weeks to access support under the Scheme. An additional €25m has been provided in the 2015 Budget, which will be targeted at hospital and community services to address the needs of delayed discharge patients. However, it’s a real challenge for the budget to keep pace with the increasing demand. Minister Kathleen Lynch and I are doing everything we can to improve the situation and we hope to have an announcement in the near future.”


Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland said: “Nursing Home care has a central role to play in enabling the wider population access the healthcare that is most appropriate for them. The majority of persons who are delayed discharge in our acute hospitals are awaiting nursing home care. Enabling timely access to the specialist care provided by nursing homes can play a significant role in improving care delivery for the wider population and significantly improve the efficiency of the health service. Ensuring timely access to nursing home care will play a lead role in supporting the Minister to fulfil a key objective of tackling hospital waiting lists. Nursing homes provide specialist health and social care in our local communities. NHI and our Members are committed to constructive engagement with Minister Varadkar to support his and Government objectives in ensuring people receive appropriate care at the lowest level of complexity.”


Mr Daly reiterated NHI’s long-standing call for the establishment of a Long-Term Residential Care Forum. “Minister Varadkar can bring fresh thinking and impetus to the Department and I encourage him to give serious consideration towards NHI’s long-standing call for establishment of a long-term care forum. It would enable stakeholders discuss the challenges surrounding the delivery of nursing home care and the growing requirement for it arising from significant increase in numbers growing older.”


Pictures are available from Mawells Photography or by contacting Michael McGlynn, Nursing Homes Ireland, Communications Officer:  087 9082970 / 01 4292570. Tadhg Daly is available for further interview. 


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