Widespread use of prefabs questioned as 800+ beds available in Nursing Homes



Health Committee must ask Minister if care potential within the community has been fully realized


1st March 2017


In advance of Minister for Health Simon Harris appearance before the Oireachtas Health Committee tomorrow, Thursday 2nd March, Nursing Homes Ireland Chief Executive Officer Tadhg Daly commented: “Prior to embarking upon his plan to build prefabs on hospital sites, Minister Harris must ensure options to provide care within our local communities are fully realised. What he is planning is a considerable undertaking that will incur significant spend for our health services. Has Minister Harris fully realised the potential within our communities to alleviate capacity within acute hospitals?   

“Around 500 people are awaiting discharge from our acute hospitals on a consistent basis and around two-thirds of these are awaiting long-term nursing care. NHI’s latest bed availability survey has informed of 834 beds being available within 201 nursing homes. These beds are spread across the country and are available to meet step-down, rehabilitative, respite, transitional and long term care needs of persons awaiting discharge from our acute hospitals. The Minister must ensure his eyes are wide open. There are hundreds of beds in nursing homes across the country that offer potential to considerably increase capacity within our acute hospitals. Crucially, they can also ensure patients are cared for in a more appropriate community setting. Measures undertaken to tackle spiralling numbers delayed discharged, namely bringing the waiting period to access Fair Deal funding to four weeks, led to then Minister for Health Leo Varadakar stating 265 beds had been freed up on a daily basis within the acute hospital system, creating a capacity increase equivalent to a medium-sized hospital.*

“The Minister and the Emergency Department Taskforce must ensure the opportunities presented in this regard are fully explored. For this to happen, timely identification of what a patients follow-on care entails and timely facilitation of this are imperative. This means ensuring the resourcing is in place to support hospital staff to implement immediate discharge back into the community.

“At the end of last year Minister Harris heralded 436 persons being delayed discharged within our hospitals as representing a “new low”. This does not represent success. With concerted focus we can push to achieve higher volume of discharges back into the community from acute hospitals and a corresponding decrease in unnecessarily occupied hospital beds across the country.”

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is available for further comment. For further information or to facilitate an interview contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive at 087 9082970 or 01 4699806 within office hours. 


*Dáil Éireann, 10th November 2015



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