Mayo nursing home fees differential cited

NURSING homes run by the HSE in Mayo are being paid 61% more per person to provide care than private and voluntary nursing homes in the county, according to figures published by the HSE.

Under the Fair Deal Scheme, the HSE published their figures at the end of February, following a 16-month delay.

The fees paid to HSE nursing homes is €1,390 per person per week. The average fee payable per person to the 14 private and voluntary nursing homes operating within the county is €865 per person per week.

This reveals a staggering 61% differential in the average fees payable in respect of residents between HSE nursing homes in Co. Mayo and their voluntary counterparts.

The report outlines the following cost of care charges in respect of HSE-owned facilities in Mayo:

Dalton Community Nursing Unit, Claremorris (€1,199), Belmullet District Hospital, including Aras Deirbhile, (€1,942), McBride Community Unit, Westport (€1,239), Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar (€1,457), St. Augustine's Community Nursing Unit, Ballina (€1,171), and St. Fionnan's Community Nursing Unit, Achill Sound Achill Island (€1,334).

The Sacred Heart Hospital is currently undergoing bed number variations as a result of refurbishments.

According to the Nursing Homes Ireland organisation, private and voluntary nursing homes are required to ‘negotiate’ the fees payable to them under the Fair Deal Scheme with the National Treatment Purchase Fund, acting on behalf of the State.

It says that the fees payable to the HSE nursing homes are not subject to negotiation.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, said: “Somebody needs to shout stop and question how public funds are being utilised within State nursing homes.

“We are calling upon the Public Accounts Committee to fulfil its previous commitment to examine the cost of care within HSE nursing homes and seek to provide some transparency and answers to very serious questions with regard to this element of public spending.

“Nationally, NHI is calling for an investigation into the cost of nursing home care in Ireland.”

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