Private nursing homes closing due to Fair Deal ‘discrimination’, claims Nursing Homes Ireland

In Laois, Longford and Westmeath, HSE nursing home fees double those payable to private and voluntary counterparts

The gap in funding between HSE nursing homes and private operations is a “discrimination” which is leading to the closure of nursing homes across the country, it has been claimed.

The “cost of care crisis” has led to an “unprecedented level of closure of private and voluntary nursing homes”, according to the head of Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), the umbrella group for the sector

Recently published figures suggest that HSE nursing homes receive an average of 69 per cent or €744 more per resident, per week, under the Fair Deal when compared with nursing homes operated privately.

In three counties — Laois, Longford and Westmeath, HSE nursing home fees for resident care are double those payable to private and voluntary counterparts, the NHI said.


“While the funding crisis has led to the closure of over 20 nursing homes the past year, the already considerable gulf in payments to HSE nursing homes has increased,” the group’s chief executive Tadhg Daly said.

“HSE nursing homes now, on average, are receiving close to an average €800 extra funding per resident, per week, for nursing home care. In January 2022, the average difference was over €600 per resident and it is now approaching €800.”


He said the fees payable to HSE nursing homes “signify the reality of nursing home care costs. There are multiple analyses of Fair Deal finding the fee-setting process, which is not applicable to State nursing homes, is not commensurate with the reality of nursing home resident care costs. HSE nursing homes are provided with fees that are commensurate with resident care costs.”

Mr Daly described as a “chasm” the difference between the way the State funds its own nursing homes and private homes and said it “represents discrimination against nursing home residents and those entrusted in meeting their health and social care needs”.

NHI called on the Government to “expedite its continually stated commitment” to implement measures to bring stability to the sector.

“A cost of care crisis continues to present for nursing home care in Ireland,” said Mr Daly. “It is a crisis that has been acknowledged by Government on a long-standing basis, yet repeated promises to bring into effect a response are still outstanding. It is irresponsible and bitterly disappointing that it has now stalled on implementation of a policy paper to provide the sector with much-needed direction.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast