The budget for the nursing homes support scheme for this year is €948.8 million. The budget for 2015 reflects an increase of €10 million from the position in 2014. This €10 million increase has been allocated to the scheme as part of the initiative relating to the issue of delayed discharges and has allowed for the provision of an additional 300 long-term residential care beds. It has also reduced the time spent on the placement list from 15 weeks to 11 weeks.
My Department and the HSE are working to ensure the resources are available to deliver the best possible outcomes for older people. This will require an integrated approach across community, residential and other service areas. It is clear that even with this additional €10 million, the scheme will remain under pressure and the longer term position, therefore, needs to be carefully considered. The review of the nursing homes support scheme, as well as considering how the scheme has operated to date, is expected to identify some of the issues that will need to be considered and tested more fully into the future, including the future financing of the full range of supports for older people. Work is well advanced on this review and it is expected to be completed by the end of this quarter. As the scheme is statutory based, the implementation of recommendations arising from the review will require amendments to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009.