The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, commonly referred to as Fair Deal, is a system of financial support for people who require long-term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term nursing home care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings.
The Nursing Homes Support Scheme is expected to support 23,042 people at any one time in 2019. The NHSS budget for 2019 saw an increase of €24.3m over 2018 making a total budget of €985.8m for 2019. In 2020, the NHSS will see a further investment in its budget of €45 million, bringing the total annual budget for NHSS to €1.03bn. This substantial investment will provide ongoing long-term residential care over the course of 2020 ensuring that the Scheme continues to deliver affordable and accessible nursing home care for our citizens with long-term care needs.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has been designated as a body authorised to negotiate with proprietors of non-HSE registered nursing homes to reach agreement in relation to the maximum price(s) that can be charged for the provision of long-term residential care services to Nursing Homes Support Scheme residents. The NTPF established processes are the appropriate mechanism for engagement. The established processes include provision for an NTPF review mechanism where agreement is not initially reached in relation to the price.
The NTPF has statutory independence in the performance of its function and negotiates with a nursing home on an individual basis. The Minister for Health does not have any role in this regard. I understand that the negotiation process is very active at present, with a meeting between the organisations held last week. I strongly encourage continuation of this engagement through the established mechanisms.
In relation to the day care service, the HSE has been in extensive engagement with the St John of God Hospitaller Services Group at St Joseph's and this engagement is also ongoing. The HSE met with representatives from St. Joseph's last week on this matter and I understand that this was a positive engagement that will continue over the next short while and I hope it will conclude in a resolution between the parties.