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Written Answers - Care of the Elderly

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 15.  Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  his plans regarding the funding and staffing of Health Service Executive care homes for older persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16272/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As the Deputy is aware the HSE is facing challenges in respect of all services in 2012. In the case of Community Nursing Units these challenges include staffing, funding and the age and structure of HSE units.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, introduced in October 2009, significantly changed the way in which long term care is funded. In the past public facilities were allocated budgets on an annual basis. In contrast, the new scheme supports individuals in need of long term residential care, not the facilities providing the care. This scheme applies equally to residents in voluntary, public and private facilities.

My colleague Minister Reilly has requested that the HSE provide him with a plan which seeks to protect the viability of as many public units as possible within the funding and staffing resources available, including smaller units where challenges of scale may require more innovative approaches to service delivery. This will require a combination of actions such as consolidation of services, changes in staffing, skill mix and work practices. It will also have to take into account the different types of services required and the capacity available within an area. The HSE has also been asked to carry out a risk assessment in relation to the staffing situation. The HSE will be working closely with the Department to develop an overall set of proposals for the Minister.

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