Emergency funding must be provided for the Fair Deal nursing home support scheme as a matter of urgency to ensure that those who need a nursing home bed can get one while the scheme is being reviewed, according to the older people’s charity, Age Action.
Age Action has welcomed the announcement by Health Minister James Reilly this evening that the Fair Deal nursing home support scheme is to recommence approving applications.
The announcement followed the discovery that €100 million ear-marked to fund nursing home beds under the scheme had been diverted by the HSE to pay for drugs and therapies. This was now being restored to enable applications to be processed and approved.
Age Action has called on the Minister Health to provide emergency funding for the Fair Deal nursing home support scheme to enable it continue to accept new beneficiaries while his review of the scheme is taking place.
“The sudden announcement yesterday that no new cases will be approved by the HSE until further funding is available has caused untold distress among older people who had signed up for the Fair Deal and were awaiting to be admitted to a nursing home,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.
Age Action has extended its condolences to the family of the late Dr Garret FitzGerald, who was a former director and vice-chairman of the older people’s charity.
“On behalf of the board, members and staff of Age Action we want to extend our condolences to Dr FitzGerald’s family,” Age Action chief executive Robin Webster said. “He made a major contribution to Age Action and its work as a director between 2005 and 2008.”
Age Action has called for the Government to urgently address the funding of the Fair Deal nursing home support scheme after the HSE confirmed that new applications for nursing home beds under the scheme have been suspended pending the availability of funding.
Age Action is concerned at the impact which the new €1.9 billion private pension fund levy will have on existing pensioners, as well as future generations of pensioners.
Age Action wlecomes today's launch of research which highlights the valuable contribution which older people make to the economy, their families and communities.
Among the findings of TILDA’s report Fifty Plus In Ireland 2011: First Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing are:
* Over a third provide practical household help (including shopping and household chores) to their children;
* Almost half provide care to their grandchildren;
Age Action has welcomed the 13% increase in the number of alleged cases of elder abuse reported to the HSE last year.
The 2,110 cases referred to the HSE’s dedicated elder abuse service in 2010, compares to 1,870 cases in 2009, and 1,840 the previous year.