Speaking in the Dáil on the crisis enveloping the Nursing Home Sector, Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín outlined the issues in minute detail.

He  said, “There is a massive crisis emerging in the nursing home sector. Nursing homes are closing right around the country due what they term as ‘Fair Deal ‘discrimination.  There has been a 36% increase in cost of care since 2017. 1/3 of nursing homes are losing money. 900 Nursing Home beds have been lost in the system in the last three years. The ESRI has stated that we need 40,000 residential care places by 2030. This is double what we have now.”

“Nursing Homes claim that funding is insufficient to meet the spiralling costs of providing care.  The figures seem to bare this out. Recently published figures suggest that HSE nursing homes receive nearly 70% per resident more than private nursing homes. This translates to €744 more per resident, per week, under the Fair Deal in a public nursing home when compared with nursing homes operated privately. This is a startling difference. Care Choice Nursing homes, the owner of 14 nursing homes around the country has stated they are pulling out of Fair Deal system because of the lack of funding. They claim that the NTPF are not negotiation in real terms, that the NTPF is not even contacting them back on proposals”.

“One private Nursing Home that has 78 residents on Fair Deal stated that they have two months more money left. After that they will no longer accept the Fair Deal. This would mean that a family would have to find the funds necessary to pay the direct and total cost of the nursing home or with draw their loved one from the nursing home. The former option is not an option for the vast majority of families and the latter option is a disaster for the older person”.

“I know of one family with a 99 year old father located in one of these homes, They will have to take their father out, discommode him from a secure life that he has known for years. They will have to remove him from all friendly recognisable faces and then try to find a space in a shrinking sector. Another woman who is in the secure dementia unit has been told by Care Choice that they could no longer provide the service after the NTPF sanctioned just €2.28 a day extra per resident to meet the cost of inflation”.

“Where do the residents of these Nursing Homes go? The Minister is talking about putting 50 Nursing Home spaces in place in Cork in the short term to deal with this crisis. It is very hard to see how this can happen in the short or medium term. If Minister Mary Butler makes HSE Nursing Home places available, it will cost €744 more per resident per week more than the current arrangement. How does this make sense? The residents don’t want to leave. This is their home and now they are being evicted”.

“There needs to an immediate emergency stabilisation fund made available to keep Nursing Homes open.  The  Minister must intervene immediately. These experiences will soon be the future for hundreds, possibly thousands of people in similar circumstances. Where will these older people go?