150 nursing home beds are left empty in fees disputes
More than 150 beds in two new nursing homes are lying idle in north Dublin, one of the areas worst hit by hospital overcrowding.
The owners of the 89-bed Anovo Care home in Swords and 62-bed Millbrook Manor in Saggart insist that the HSE fees they are being offered under the Fair Deal scheme are too low to make their businesses viable.
Under the scheme, a resident pays part of their weekly fee out of their own income and the remainder comes from HSE-managed funds after a price has been negotiated with the nursing home owners by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).
The row means that both homes are now virtually empty, despite having more than 50 staff between them and being fully registered.
In a letter to Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch, Peter Purcell, the owner of Anovocare, said the nursing home, which features an inner courtyard and landscaped gardens, cost €12m.
"To date, the NTPF has offered a rate of €1,125 per bed per week, which is inadequate and not workable," he said.
The stalemate has also left Millbrook Manor nursing home in Saggart virtually empty, despite having 33 staff.
The owner, Gerry Gallen, said the NTPF had offered him €1,125 per resident but he needs €1,200 to be viable.
A spokesman for the NTPF said it has clear, established systems and processes for agreeing prices with private nursing homes that take part in the Fair Deal scheme.
"The NTPF does not impose prices. It is a commercially negotiated process based on strict criteria, benchmark prices and cost norms," he said.