Dáil Éireann - Volume 536 - 15 May, 2001
Written Answers - Nursing Home Care.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
273. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will give details of any survey or other information on nursing home charges which his Department has in its possession, distinguishing by health board and by level of care. [13535/01]
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
275. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the terms of reference of the present review of the nursing home subvention scheme; the main bodies who have made submissions to the review; and the date when he intends to publish the recommendations. [13537/01]
Dr. Moffatt Dr. Moffatt
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Dr. Moffatt): I propose to take Questions Nos. 273 and 275 together.
Under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990, the health boards provide subventions to assist persons in meeting the costs of nursing home care. However, it was not even intended that subventions would meet the full costs involved. 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 setting private nursing home fees, nor does it compile information on the fees imposed.
In line with a Government decision, an expenditure review of the nursing home subvention scheme has been undertaken by my Department in association with the Department of Finance and has recently been completed. The aims of the review process are to provide a systematic analysis of what is actually being achieved by expenditure in each programme and to provide a basis on which more informed decisions can be made on priorities within and between programmes.
The purpose of this review was to address the operation of the nursing home subvention scheme and the extent to which current objectives are being met, the efficiency, effectiveness and equity implications of the current subvention scheme, the need and the likely future demand for private nursing home care, the supply of nursing home care in the future, the role of the nursing home sector in an integrated public-private care system, the role of the social economy in an integrated, community-based, long stay care system, optimal funding arrangements for long stay care and the major policy questions for the future.
Professor Eamon O'Shea, National University of Ireland, Galway, was engaged to carry out the detailed research and preparation of a report. The review was overseen by a steering committee comprising officials of the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Finance. I understand Professor O'Shea consulted various interested parties, including officials from the health boards and owners of private nursing homes.
It is the intention of my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Martin, to bring proposals to Government in relation to whatever additional measures may be necessary arising from the expenditure review of the subvention scheme, the Ombudsman's report, together with  experience gained from the operation of the scheme since its inception in 1993.
Dáil Éireann 536 Written Answers Nursing Home Care.