News & Media

Model for funding care of the elderly needs urgent reform

11 August 2020

Statement by Senator Annie Hoey
Spokesperson on Higher Education, Innovation and Research
Annie Hoey

The model for funding the care of the elderly needs urgent according to Labour Senator Annie Hoey who was speaking after the publication of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General detailing the failures of the Fair Deal Scheme.

Senator Hoey said:

“Demand for nursing home places exceeds supply every year and my Labour colleague, Alan Kelly has repeatedly raised concerns about the sustainability of the scheme. Vast sums of public money are pumped into the Fair Deal Scheme every year and the scheme as it stands is not fit for purpose.

“Total expenditure on the scheme reached nearly €1 billion last year, yet there is little or no transparency as to where the money is being spent with the Comptroller and Auditor General saying it could not locate the criteria under which prices charged by operators are assessed and that it is “unclear” how deals are negotiated.

“It is clear from the findings of this report that the Fair Deal Scheme needs to significantly reformed and that a new model needs to be developed to fund the care of the elderly. The current Nursing Home Support Scheme is unsustainable. Costs are rising year on year with farm families still awaiting legislation that would cap the amount they pay in fees, which can run up to €80,000 a year and the constant threat that the scheme will run out of money means the HSE are frequently forced to restrict the processing of applications every year. 

“We need to develop a new approach to caring for the elderly, one that is properly funded and treats our older citizens with dignity and respect. This approach should be centred on keeping our older citizens in the home and the Government need to allocate enough funding for home care packages and not cut money them in order to pump it into the Fair Deal scheme as they have done in the past.