On the 11th December 2014 (latest figures available) there were 1,071 people on the national placement list for funding. Funding was released on 2nd December for just over 1,000 Nursing Home Support Scheme applicants reducing the waiting time for funding to 12 weeks.
I am aware that the waiting times on the placement list have grown over the last few months. This is not a satisfactory situation and I am trying to address it.
In addition to the €939m budget for the Scheme in 2014, in July this year, the HSE allocated €5 million for an initiative to improve access to appropriate care for older people. To date, this has funded over 300 transitional care beds in acute hospitals from the placement list for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme and over 200 home care packages to assist patients in the acute hospitals who require a home care package to be discharged.
The Government has provided additional funding of €25 million for 2015 to address delayed discharges, of which €10 million will be allocated to the Scheme. In the longer term this issue requires an integrated response across primary, community and residential services and my Department is working closely with the HSE to ensure that available resources are deployed in the most effective way possible.