Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has called on the Minister for Health to undertake an independent examination of the operation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund. NHI has accused the NTPF of deliberate procrastination, acting beyond reproach and abdicating the responsibilities placed upon it by the State with regard to the Review of System for Setting Nursing Home Prices under the Nursing Home Support Scheme.
The Department of Health’s review of the Fair Deal scheme, published in July 2015, initially recommended that the review happen within 18 months (January 2017).
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar then commissioned a review of the pricing mechanism in 2016. A specific term of reference stipulated the timeframe for completion be 1st June 2017 but Minister Varadkar had it stipulated within the terms the NTPF push to complete it quicker. Seventeen months past that deadline, the pricing review remains outstanding.
Newly published research undertaken by NHI confirms that in 2017 the average financial contribution per resident within a HSE nursing home was circa €68,812 by comparison with €35,114 per resident in private and voluntary nursing homes.
Published to coincide with the Annual Conference, the NHI analysis also highlights:
- Private and voluntary providers are being tasked with providing care for fees that are an average 65% below those payable to private and voluntary homes.
- The figures point to an significant trend of people presenting for nursing home care with increasingly high-dependency, high-acuity, complex care needs, with average lengths of stay approximately 1.9 years compared to 4 years previously.
- 78.5% of new entrants to Fair Deal entered private nursing homes in the year 2015 to 2017. 21.5% entered a HSE nursing home. Private and voluntary nursing homes are majority providers of the high-dependency, high-acuity, complex care needs being presented by persons availing of Fair Deal.