Dáil Éireann - Volume 539 - 26 June, 2001
Written Answers. - Nursing Home Subventions.
Mr. Finucane Mr. Finucane
289. Mr. Finucane asked the Minister for Health and Children when a nursing home subvention will be paid in respect of a case (details supplied) in County Limerick. [19083/01]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): I presume that the Deputy is referring to payments being made to people adversely affected by the two aspects of the Nursing Home (Subvention) Regulations, 1993.
The report of the Ombudsman into the nursing home subvention scheme identified a number of issues relating to the operation of the nursing home subvention scheme. It is my intention to bring proposals to Government in relation to whatever additional measures may be necessary arising from the Ombudsman's report and the expenditure review of the subvention scheme, together with experience gained from the operation of the scheme since its inception in 1993.
Our immediate priority is to ensure that the two aspects of the regulations that have the most direct impact on nursing home patients and their families are fully addressed without delay. Arrangements have already been made to enable nursing home patients and their families who may be due payments arising from the provisions in the regulations relating to the retention of one fifth of the rate of non-contributory old age pension for personal use to be refunded speedily.
The provision which allowed for the assessment of the capacity of the adult sons and/or daughters of older people who applied for nursing home subventions to contribute towards the cost of their parents' nursing home care was deleted from 1 January 1999. As the Deputy is aware, it has been decided that moneys should be paid to those who were adversely affected by this provision. It is anticipated that these payments will cost in the region of £6 million.
A group representing the Department, the health boards and the Eastern Regional Health Authority has been established to ensure that this process is carried out on a uniform basis as speedily as possible. As soon as this group has issued its recommendations as to how this issue should be progressed, all boards will be advised accordingly. However, as the Deputy can appreciate, the issue of making payments will be a complex exercise involving, inter alia, difficult issues of traceability and it may take some time to complete. Nevertheless, I offer an assurance that every effort will be made to make payments as quickly as possible.
In relation to the particular case raised by the  Deputy, as the provision of health services in the Limerick area is a matter for the Mid-Western Health Board, I have asked the chief executive officer of the board to investigate and respond to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.
Dáil Éireann 539 Written Answers. Nursing Home Subventions.