Dáil Éireann - Volume 426 - 23 February, 1993

Written Answers. - Subventions to Nursing Home Patients.

313. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Health the assistance given by the health boards to elderly patients living in private nursing homes, if they have a medical card and if they do not; and the obligations of the health boards in these cases.

Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): Under section 54 of the Health Act, 1970 a dependent person, instead of accepting [1173] services made available by the health board, may have such services provided in a hospital or home approved by the Minister. A number of nursing homes are approved to receive section 54 subvention at a rate of £52.15 per person per week.

A health board may also make arrangements under section 26 of the Health Act, 1970 to subvent dependent elderly persons in private nursing homes. This subvention is paid by arrangement between the health board and the nursing homes. There is no fixed rate of subvention paid under section 26. The rate of subvention paid may very with the circumstances of the patient and the care provided by the nursing home.

There are about 4,600 persons in nursing homes who are receiving section 54 or section 26 subventions. Most elderly people in receipt of a subvention from a health board have a medical card.

The Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990 provides for a new system for the payment of subvention in respect of dependent elderly persons who require nursing home care but who cannot afford to pay for it. It is my intention to commence the Nursing Homes Act and bring the new system of subvention into effect later this year.