THE weekly cost of caring for an elderly resident in a state-run public nursing home is now €1,404 compared to €888 in a private facility, according to a new report.
It said "historically" the difference was put down to public nursing homes having to look after people with high dependency and they needed more staff. However, the report suggested that public pay agreements and conditions in the state-run nursing homes can mean they are more expensive than the private sector.
"What is clear is that the State is currently paying between 58pc and 103pc more per resident in a public nursing home than the comparable fee paid for a private or voluntary home."
The difference was highlighted in a report 'Health's Ageing Crisis: Time for Action' which was commissioned by Nursing Homes Ireland representing private nursing homes.
It warned that the demand for nursing home beds was now outstripping supply in parts of the country, with the gap rapidly widening.
"The Government's current short-term approach with respect to policy and funding for the residential care needs of our ageing population will, if continued, result in a much higher social and economic cost in coming years," the report by BDO Consulting said.
For every 1,000 people who cannot access nursing home care due to the State's strategy, the cost to the Exchequer will be €273m annually "in addition to the immeasurable impact on people and their families".
Derry Gray, managing partner BDO, said: "Recent decisions by Government to divert money from nursing home care to alternative home care packages and other community facilities will be counterproductive and ultimately result in considerable waiting times for residential care."