Families urge Government to provide extra Fair Deal funding as Cork nursing home exits scheme

Beaumont Residential Care near Blackrock told families of residents it cannot provide care under Fair Deal scheme at current rates

The Government has been urged to provide additional funding for residents of a Cork nursing home who are facing an uncertain future after its owners announced that they have exited the Fair Deal support scheme.

The owners of 73-bed Beaumont Residential care have said payments are insufficient to meet the spiralling cost of providing care.

Relatives of the home’s 56 Fair Deal residents said the government must make more money available to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to support their loved ones after the home’s owners, CareChoice, announced Beaumont has left the Fair Deal Scheme.

Roisin Ryan, whose mother, Madeleine Horgan (80) is in a Secure Dementia Unit at Beaumont, said CareChoice had warned relatives last week they could no longer sustain care for Fair Deal residents after the NTPF sanctioned a €16 increase per resident per week to meet inflation.


“We held a protest at Micheál Martin’s constituency office today [Monday] to highlight the issue because it’s dreadful - I don’t know who is going to take my mum on if Beaumont exits the scheme because we can’t afford to go private. The government needs to improve the rates they give the NTPF.”

Ms Ryan’s views were echoed by Fiona Garvey, whose mother, Maureen (82) is in Beaumont with late-stage dementia, pointing out that Beaumont’s contract is due to expire next month, and other nursing homes are also likely to exit the Fair Deal scheme unless funding is made available.

“I think there’s a bit of passing the buck going on because the Minister with responsibility for Older People Mary Butler said in a letter she had no role in this and that it was a matter for the NTPF. It’s hard to have sympathy for the Government on this because they are saying there is money there.”

CareChoice CEO Stuart Murphy said the decision to withdraw Beaumont from the Fair Deal was not taken lightly, but it had spent seven months trying to persuade the NTPF, the HSE and the Department of Health to engage with it on “the chronic underfunding of caring for Fair Deal residents”.

However, there had been “no meaningful engagement”, said Mr Murphy, who explained the NTPF was insisting on an average increase of €16 per resident per week for the six CareChoice homes in Cork while the HSE had increased funding for its Cork nursing homes by €183 per resident per week.

“We believe the NTPF is engaging in discriminatory behaviour against Fair Deal residents in Beaumont Residential Care. The reality is that NTPF underfunding has been a factor in the closure of 25 private nursing homes in Ireland over the last 18 months,” he said.

A spokesman for Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that Minister of State Mary Butler was committed to resolving the issue, pointing out that the Government had so far committed €1.5 billion of its health budget to the Fair Deal scheme to help support 22,700 people in nursing homes.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the NTPF said that, under Section 41 of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act, 2009, the NTPF is the designated body to agree maximum prices with private and voluntary nursing homes for the purpose of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS).

“As part of this function, the NTPF will enter into Approved Nursing Home Agreements with registered nursing homes to record the maximum price(s) that have been negotiated. The NTPF does not comment on its negotiations with individual nursing homes,” said the NTPF spokesman.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times