Cost of public nursing home care increases by average of €23 a week
HSE accused of releasing price rise details on day Donald Trump visited Ireland
The HSE released a statement saying the average weekly cost of nursing home care had increased from €1,592 in 2018 to €1,615 this year.
The Health Service Executive has been accused of deliberately choosing the day US president Donald Trump arrived in Ireland to publish updated costs of public nursing home fees under the Fair Deal Scheme.
On Wednesday evening the HSE released a statement saying the average weekly cost of this nursing home care had increased from €1,592 in 2018 to €1,615 this year.
It said the on average €23 per week price increase was partly due to pay increases required under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
“These costs apply to the operating costs of providing care in these centres. They do not relate to the amount a person will pay towards their care under the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal),” it said.
Incensed at the timing
However, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), representing private operators, was incensed at the timing of the statement, saying it had been calling for transparency on the figures for some time and that it disputed the €1,615 figure.
It said the lack of data on public sector costs was giving the HSE a competitive advantage and forcing fees down to an unacceptable level among private operators.
Those who qualify for the Fair Deal Scheme can choose their nursing home, public or private. However, NHI say people will pay a larger contribution in the case of higher fees.
In a statement responding to the HSE update, NHI said officials had been “hiding” the updated figure for the last 15 months since it last published details of public fees.
“It is no coincidence that the day the American president is in town, the HSE has taken the decision to relent and finally publish the fees payable to its 110 plus nursing homes. It represents cynical media management by the HSE and represents a sad day for transparency,” it said.
The HSE denied the claim of cynical timing. A spokeswoman said the updated costs were published as soon as they were ready to be released.
In contrast, the NHI said, the fees paid to the private and voluntary nursing homes are published every month on the HSE website.
“The reality is that there is no oversight of HSE spend. It continuously blocks publication of the fees its homes are paid under Fair Deal.”