Fees paid by the HSE to private nursing homes to subsidise residents are proving a barrier to investment, a report has warned.
The Department of Health-commissioned report should be acted on with urgency, it was claimed. The report said the fees did not fully take into account the level of dependency of many residents in private nursing homes and this could lead to growing scarcity in the coming years.
Commenting on the findings, Tadhg Daly, head of Nursing Homes Ireland, representing private owners, said: "The significance of the findings and recommendations within this report should not be underestimated.
"They support our consistent pronouncements during the term of this Government and prior that the pricing model to support nursing home care is not fit for purpose. As consistently stated, it is threatening the sustainability of providers and stifling their ability to meet the rapid growth in requirement for nursing home care."
Currently, there are 29,600 beds and three-quarters of these are provided by private nursing homes.
In the next two years another 700 nursing home beds will be needed.
There could potentially be a shortage of about 24,000 beds by 2036 unless action is taken.
Talks have been taking place regarding the "shortcomings in the pricing model".