Saturday 18 November 2017

Is it time for rethink on Fair Deal?

Eilish O'Regan and Paul Healy

THE question of whether all residents in nursing homes are paying enough under the Fair Deal scheme is one which will need to be debated, a leading hospital emergency consultant has said.

Dr Eamonn Brazil (pictured), head of the emergency department in the Mater public and private hospitals, said we have to ask is it reasonable that the State pays for a resident's accommodation if they also own a home.

"We are going to need a huge amount of funds for community supports in the future and it is something we need to come to terms with."

He was speaking as the first private emergency department in Dublin's northside was formally opened in the Mater private by Health Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday. It costs €120 to be seen with a ceiling of €500 on any further tests. The emergency unit in the Mater public hospital has managed to cut waiting times for patients on trolleys in recent years by better processing of patients and more use of step-down facilities, he added. But up to 20 can be on trolleys in the morning.

Mr Varadkar said that the numbers on trolleys nationally fell this week and there are now less than 700 delayed-discharge patients compared to 850 before Christmas.

"The measures we put in place have actually worked. They just haven't worked quickly enough but we are going to keep working on it.

"It's a much bigger challenge than I thought a few months ago," he said.

Irish Independent

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