Health Budget 2024: Government miscalculations will lead to further nursing home closures

The Alliance Support Network for Nursing Homes has stated Budget 2024 is a miscalculation by Government that will not address the cost of care crisis affecting nursing home care, and will lead to further closures of nursing homes in 2024.

Reacting to Budget 2024, Spokesperson Shane Scanlan said: “The Government have allocated additional €45 million committed to nursing home care under Budget 2024. This is a total miscalculation and nowhere near the actual amount required to tackle the cost of care crisis within our sector. Government miscalculations in the past 3 years has already resulted in the closure of twenty-nine private and voluntary nursing homes the past three years with the loss of 882 nursing home beds.  Unfortunately Budget 2024 is merely kicking the can down the road for many nursing homes struggling for survival and many more closures will occur”

Shane Scanlan highlighted that “The UCD School of social policy pointed out that after the 2008 crash that global financial factors and processes interacting with Irish Government policy, in the absence of stabilising countermeasures, exacerbated house prices and volatility in the private sector including house supply. We now unfortunately have a housing crisis. Successive governments have not since learned from this and our current government is taking the same approach now during a cost of care crisis for the Private Nursing Home sector. It is our solid prediction that it will result in a Nursing Home bed crisis very shortly. The public are already aware of the huge delays in accessing nursing home care right now. The recent closures of nursing homes is impacting upon hospital capacity to facilitate timely discharges for older persons back into community care. All this is happening right now due to the absence of appropriate funding to stabilise the sector for residents under our care now and over the next few years. The current approach from Government will not meet the needs of an ageing population. Confidence needs to be injected into the sector to ensure the future investment in additional nursing home beds nationally. We are asking the Government to make the necessary fundamental changes in legislation to redefine how the Nursing Home Support Scheme works. The scale of this task is substantial, but it needs to be tackled head on by Government right now for our ageing population and the survival of our nursing homes”

On a positive note Shane Scanlan added: “We were very happy to see a dedicated fund announced by Minister Butler to support nursing homes with regulatory requirements. Our Alliance highlighted the need for such a fund in a pre-budget meeting with Minister Butler and Department of Health officials. The purpose of this fund is to assist smaller nursing homes struggling to meet regulatory requirements set out by the Health Information and Quality Authority. I know how hard Minister Butler worked to get this dedicated fund and our Alliance is very thankful for her efforts in relation to this”.