Public nursing homes to receive €385 million investment

New programme will refurbish or replace centres to meet Hiqa standards, Minister says

Details of a €385 million programme to refurbish or replace public nursing homes have been announced by Minister for Social Care Kathleen Lynch. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Details of a €385 million programme to refurbish or replace public nursing homes have been announced by Minister for Social Care Kathleen Lynch. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Details of a €385 million programme to refurbish or replace public nursing homes have been announced by Minister for Social Care Kathleen Lynch.

The plan provides for the replacement of 33 existing facilities and the refurbishment or extension of 57 others.

An additional 215 beds will be made available in the refurbished homes.

The biggest project is the replacement of St Joseph’s Hospital in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

Fifteen of the refurbishment projects are in Co Cork and 12 are in Co Donegal.

The investment is made up of €148 million from the current HSE capital plan and €237 million from the Government’s overall capital plan.

Ten homes costing €150 million are likely to be provided through public private partnerships (PPP) or alternative funding arrangements.

Ms Lynch said the investment reflected a determination to maintain the public nursing home stock, which has long been in need of refurbishment.

Older buildings

Many public nursing homes are in older residential buildings, sometimes former workhouses, that are considered unsuitable for modern accommodation.

Many of these units were threatened with closure until the Government and the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), which enforces standards for residential care, agreed last year to a new timetable for the modernisation of facilities.

“As a result of this investment, it is intended that all public nursing homes will be compliant with the environmental aspects of Hiqa standards by 2021,” Ms Lynch said.

A list of all 90 projects is available online.