HSE hit by €320m gap in funding for elderly
A €320m cash injection is needed to provide the elderly with proper healthcare next year, an unpublished HSE document reveals.
The Fair Deal scheme, where the State contributes toward the cost of nursing home places, will need more than €40m in additional funding next year, while €140m is required to meet the demand for home help and home care packages.
The detailed review of HSE services also reveals that it will cost the State an extra €7.5m a year to exclude farming land when calculating patient contributions to the Fair Deal scheme.
The report shows that the HSE is creaking under the pressure of providing services for an ageing population and needs substantial investment in next year's Budget.
Older People Minister Jim Daly confirmed yesterday that he had received the report and said it showed the challenges faced by the Government in providing services in this area.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent last night, Mr Daly said: "I will consider all elements of this report ahead of my Budget submission, but I will certainly be prioritising targeted payments and improving services for vulnerable people ahead of payment increases across the board."
Health service chiefs estimate that they will need at least €974.8m to cover the cost of providing the Fair Deal scheme to more than 24,000 people next year.
More than 4,600 people are on waiting lists for home help and home care services. The HSE estimates that it will cost more than €30m to clear the backlog.
Mr Daly said the report provided stark findings on the country's ageing population, with numbers aged over 65 set to grow by 42pc in the decade between 2011 and 2022.