Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 29 June, 1999
Written Answers. - Nursing Home Fees.
Mr. Naughten Mr. Naughten
177. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans, if any, he has to ensure regulations are put in place to protect patients in nursing homes from fee increases without adequate notice to their relatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16782/99]
Dr. Moffatt Dr. Moffatt
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Dr. Moffatt): The placement of a resident in a private nursing home and the fees charged is a private arrangement between the nursing home and the individual resident. Accordingly, my Department has no function in relation to the setting of private nursing home fees.
The principal objectives of the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990, is to ensure high standards of accommodation and care in all nursing homes registered under the Act, and to provide a system of nursing home subvention so that dependent persons most in need of nursing home care will have access to such care. I am satisfied that health boards take a sympathetic view of cases where personal funds are exhausted by increasing the level of subvention where possible. Where this does not solve a problem, a health board will try to provide accommodation in one of its own extended care facilities. One of the changes made to the subvention scheme operated under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990, since its implementation permits health boards to contract beds in private nursing homes and pay more than the maximum rates of subvention in such cases. This amendment is to facilitate health boards which do not have sufficient accommodation in their hospitals and homes to meet the needs of  those requiring nursing care and which have traditionally relied on the nursing home sector to meet this need.
I should point out that substantial additional funding has been provided in the current year to meet the rising costs of the scheme, including increased payment to people who are having difficulty in meeting their nursing home fees.
Dáil Éireann 507 Written Answers. Nursing Home Fees.