Written Answers. - Nursing Home Subvention.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

206 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding that was given to the Western Health Board for subvention for elderly people to go into private homes in each of the years from 1993 to 1996. [16385/96]

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

Ceist:

245 Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn asked the Minister for Health the number of patients in the Western Health Board area for whom nursing home subvention is currently being paid; the number of patients in the Western Health Board area where approval for nursing home subvention has been made and who are not being paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16805/96]

Limerick East): The subvention scheme which accompanied the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990, came into operation on 1 September 1993 and ensures that those most in need of care in a nursing home, and without the means to pay for it receive assistance towards that cost. Since the introduction of the scheme to 31 December 1995, a total of £31.2 million has been expended on subventions and this year, just over £16 million has been allocated to the scheme.

Since the implementation of the Act, the Western Health Board has received the following annual funding:

1993 —

£0.1929m

1994 —

£1.656m

1995 —

£1.987m

1996 —

£1.987m

Total —

£5.82m

The Western Health Board informs me that there are currently 562 individuals in receipt of a subvention from the board. A further 73 applicants have been approved for subvention and are awaiting payment of same. Experience suggests that a proportion of these applicants will not, in fact, avail of payment for various reasons. Discussions are ongoing between officials of my Department and representatives of the Western Health Board regarding the funding of the nursing home subvention scheme. I will advise the Deputies of the outcome of these discussions as soon as possible.