Saturday 17 March 2018

Private firms are fighting to cut costs - and get their voices heard

Politicians must listen to major players if they want to end the 'mixed-up economy' in care, writes Mervyn Taylor

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Mervyn Taylor

To paraphrase WB Yeats, change "comes dropping slow". The efforts of the Sunday Independent regarding nursing home fees are having an impact. Agencies are talking and Minister of State for Older People Jim Daly seems anxious to bring greater fairness to the system. Contracts that we had been told were perfectly adequate are now being reviewed.

There is talk of the Consumer and Competition Authority and Hiqa having a role. Meanwhile, the review of the statutory Nursing Home Support Scheme, the so-called Fair Deal, continues and a consultation period on the development of a statutory home care system will end soon.

Certain things seem clear after surveying the landscape in early autumn. The nursing home charges issue is not, as some are trying to portray it, a consumer issue. It is a symptom indicating a deeper malaise.

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