Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (383)

Richard Boyd Barrett


383. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure the necessary funds are made available in order that the day-care and residential facilities at a care home (details supplied) can remain open into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51369/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

St Joseph's in Shankill is a part of the St John of God Hospitaller Services Group. It provides both residential care and day care for service users, all of whom have a diagnosis of dementia. Many of the 60 residential places are funded through the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS). Separately, the HSE contracts for approximately 25 Day Care places per day at St Joseph’s.

The NHSS, 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 NHSS 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. This significant 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 by the Minister for Health pursuant to Section 40 of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 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 NHSS residents.

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.

The NTPF has clear, established processes for agreeing prices, and has successfully negotiated terms with over 430 private and voluntary nursing homes participating in the Scheme. The NTPF’s processes are available to all nursing homes and since the end of 2017 there has been a net increase in the number of nursing homes operating in Ireland with an increase of almost 1,300 (5.7%) in the number of beds in the nursing homes with whom the NTPF has agreed terms.

In its statutory role to negotiate maximum prices charged for the provision of long-term residential care services to NHSS 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.

I acknowledge the role of private and voluntary providers in residential care provision and I encourage the continued engagement with the NTPF processes with regard to the prices for the residential care services.

I understand the HSE has been in extensive engagement with the St John of God Hospitaller Services Group in relation to the day care service at St Joseph's and has reached agreement regarding funding to these for 2019 and into 2020.