Sunday 20 January 2019

Care in public nursing homes costs State more

The fee payable per resident per week is €1,511 at St. John’s
The fee payable per resident per week is €1,511 at St. John’s

Maria Pepper

HSE nursing homes in Wexford are paid 72% more by the State for the care of their residents than private and voluntary homes operating in the county.

The discrepancy is revealed in new figures published recently by the HSE on the fees payable to nursing homes under the Fair Deal Scheme with the National Treatment Purchase Scheme acting on behalf of the Government.

The average fee payable to HSE nursing homes in County Wexford is €1,477 per week up to February of this year while the average amount payable per resident to the county's 13 private and voluntary nursing homes is €858 per week.

This is a 72% difference in the average fees payable in respect of residents between HSE nursing homes and their private and voluntary counterparts in the county and it compa5res to an average 60% differential nationally.

The following is a list of the weekly fees paid for individual residents in private and voluntary nursing homes in County Wexford: Wygram Nursing Home Davitt Road Wexford town €895; Knockeen €895; Ros Aoibhinn, Irish Street, Bunclody €800; Castle Gardens, Drumgoold, Enniscorthy €845; Moyne Nursing Home, Enniscorthy €800; Mozbrett Ltd (Lawson House) Knockrathkyle, Glenbrien, Enniscorthy €830; Middletown , Ardamine Courtown Harbour €895; Oakfield Nursing & Retirement Home Courtown €895;Valentia Nursing Home, Camolin €820; Cherrygrove Nursing Home, Priesthaggard, Campile €840; Millhouse Care Centre, Newtown Commons, New Ross €890; New Ross Community Hospital, Hospital Road €830; Kerlogue Nursing Home Kerlogue €925.

The fees paid to HSE nursing homes are as follows: New Houghton Hospital, New Ross, €1442 and St. John's Community Hospital Enniscorthy/ Abbeygale House in Farnogue Community Nursing Unit, Wexford €1511.

Private and voluntary nursing homes are required to negotiate the fees payable to them under the Fair Deal Scheme while the fees payable to HSE nursing homes are not subject to negotiation or oversight, with the HSE being the budget holder and payee, according to Nursing Homes Ireland.

Over the 16-month period since the HSE fees were last published, the amounts payable within HSE nursing homes increased by an average 11% while during the same time frame, the average fees in private and voluntary nursing homes increased by 3.9%.

In 2016, the average fee differential between HSE and private/voluntary nursing homes was 53% and the gap has grown over the 16 months.

Nursing Homes Ireland CEO Tadhg Daly said the latest HSE figures highlight the 'glaring discrimination perpetuated by the State in nursing home care'.

'It is unacceptable that private and voluntary nursing homes which are the lead providers of nursing home care, are forced to provide care for fees that are a fraction of those payble to HSE counterparts', he said.

The discrepancy cannot continue to be justified by the State which continues to turn a blind eye to the huge chasm that exists nationally and within individual counties', said Mr. Daly who called on the Public Accounts Committee to fulfill a commitment to investigate the cost of care in HSE nursing homes.'It is imperative that the Government finally publishes the review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism that was scheduled for completion and publication in June 2017. The CEO said private and voluntary nursing homes provide high dependency care but their sustainability is threatened by the State's failure to recognise the true cost of nursing home care and the Fair Deal's non-recognition of the reality of cost.

Gorey Guardian