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Written Answers - Hospital Accommodation

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 26.  Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  the number and location of public community hospitals and nursing homes across the country; the number of beds in these hospitals; his plans to extend the range of services especially outpatient services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16439/12]

 56.  Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  if he will expand the role of community hospitals and the services that they can offer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16438/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 56 together.

The HSE is facing challenges in respect of all services in 2012.In the case of public nursing homes for older people these include challenges regarding staffing, funding and environmental factors around the age and structure of the units. It is clear that on a business as usual basis, the HSE would have to close further beds across a range of public nursing homes in 2012.In the absence of reform, this would increase the cost of caring for older persons within the public system, undermine the viability of public nursing homes and reduce the overall number of older persons that can be supported within the budget available for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. This is not a sustainable way forward and would not meet the needs of older persons, local communities, the taxpayer or those working in the public service. Instead, a more pro-active approach is required to the provision of public nursing homes which seeks to protect the viability of as many units as possible within the funding and staffing resources available. This is likely to require a combination of actions such as consolidation of services and changes in staffing, skill mix and work practices. In this regard consideration must be given to the different types of services required — such as long-stay and transitional — and the respective strengths of public and private nursing homes in that regard; the public and private capacity available within an area; the age and structure of public homes;the wider needs of the local community; and alternative options for providing a viable community nursing service, including a possible role for local communities or other voluntary providers. The HSE is already examining these issues and is working closely with the Department to develop an overall set of proposals for the Minister. The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is the statutory body [705]responsible for the registration of all designated centres for older people, including public, voluntary and private nursing homes. Under the 2007 Health Act, all existing nursing homes must be registered by HIQA by 30 June 2012 Details of all currently registered nursing homes, including the maximum number of residents who can be accommodated, as well as inspection reports can be found on the HIQA website, www.hiqa.ie.


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