A public consultation process to inform the review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme commenced on the 14th June. A call for submissions was made in national newspapers and a notice was placed on the Department of Health website. The closing date for receipt of submissions is the 16th July.
When the public consultation process has concluded, the Department of Health will be seeking tenders through the public procurement process for the carrying out of the review. This process takes approximately 4 months. It is anticipated that the review itself will take approximately three months to complete. It is expected that the review will commence in the last quarter of this year and be completed in early 2013.
It is not possible to be more specific about the exact timelines involved at this point. The timeframe for the Request for Tenders being published will be dependent on how many submissions are received and how long it takes to analyse them. Thereafter, the awarding of a contract for the review will depend on how many tenders are received. The more tenders that are received, the longer it will take to evaluate them.
The Terms of Reference for the review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme are:
Taking account of Government policy, demographic trends and the fiscal situation—
1. To examine the on-going sustainability of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme,
2. To examine the overall cost of long-term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the effectiveness of the current methods of negotiating/setting prices,
3. Having regard to 1. and 2. above, to consider the balance of funding between long-term residential care and community based services,
4. To consider the extension of the scheme to community based services and to other sectors (Disability and Mental Health), and
5. To make recommendations for the future operation and management of the scheme.
As the Scheme is statutory based, the implementation of any recommendations arising from the review may require significant amendments to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009.