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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 10 May 2000

Vol. 518 No. 6

Written Answers. - Nursing Homes.

Emmet Stagg


339 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans, if any, he has to introduce pricing controls on charges for the elderly in private nursing homes; the plans, if any, he has to increase the nursing home subvention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13002/00]

I have no function in the matter of fees charged by private nursing homes.

Under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990, the health boards provide subventions to assist persons in meeting the costs of nursing home care. However, it was never intended that subventions would meet the full costs involved.

There are three rates of subvention payable, £70, £95, £120, in accordance with three levels of dependency, medium, high, maximum. The amount of funding allocated to supporting older people in private nursing homes has been significantly increased by this Government in recent years. For example, more than £5 million in additional funding has been allocated in the current year to provide for an increase in the number of people in receipt of subventions, their higher levels of dependency, resulting in more people receiving the higher rates of subventions, and the change in the regulations whereby the ability of adult sons and-or daughters over 21 years of age to contribute is no longer taken into account. The amount made available for the scheme this year is £38.4 million.
My priority is to ensure that health boards have adequate resources to meet increasing demands. The question of increasing the rates of subvention will be kept under review in light of the availability of funding and competing priorities.