Press Release

Minister Áine Brady welcomes Budget 2011 initiatives to enhance services for older people

Áine Brady, T.D., Minister for Older People, today (7 December 2010) welcomed the initiatives contained in the Budget to enhance services for older people.

She said:“In framing the Budget, the Government were very conscious of the need to protect our most vulnerable older people. Our long standing policy has been to support older people to live at home and in their communities and, where this is not possible for whatever reason, to provide access to high quality and affordable long term residential care. Notwithstanding the unprecedented financial situation facing the country, I am very pleased that additional funding has been made available for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme and to expand the Home Care Package Initiative.”

The HSE at present provides in the region of 5,000 Home Care Packages to around 9,600 older people at any one time, or up to 13,000 clients on an annual basis. The additional €8m announced today by the Minister for Finance will allow the Executive to provide packages to approximately 500 extra recipients at any one time, or up to 800 over the course of next year. This will bring total annual investment in Home Care Packages to €138m and should benefit approximately 13,800 clients in 2011.

The Minister continued ” the importance attached to this new funding should be seen in the context of other Home Care initiatives I have been progressing with the HSE over the course of this year. In 2011, the HSE will roll-out a more standardised approach nationally to the planning and delivery of its community based supports for older people. “

In relation to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, Minister Brady said that “under the scheme, individuals make a contribution to the cost of their nursing home care based on their means. The HSE meets the full balance of cost over and above the individual’s contribution in public, private or voluntary nursing homes approved for the purpose of the scheme. Over 16,500 people have applied for the scheme since it commenced and been well received by both older people and their families. The additional €6m announced today demonstrates this Government’s on-going commitment to older people. This funding takes account of the increasing number of older people that require long-term nursing home care due to demographic trends.”

However, she noted that “despite this additional funding, the HSE will still be expected to reduce the cost of care in public nursing homes. Equally, the National Treatment Purchase Fund will need to hold prices at current levels in private homes in order to ensure the sustainability of the scheme.”

07 December 2010