Press Release

Minister Harney publishes Fair Deal Bill – ‘clear, coherent and totally fair support for the cost of long term care’

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008 (PDF)

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008.  Explanatory and Financial Memorandum (PDF)

Nursing Homes Support Scheme- Regulatory Impact Analysis (PDF)

Public Information Leaflet on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme- A Fair Deal (PDF)

FAQs on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme- A Fair Deal (PDF)

Examples of Co-Payment under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (PDF)

The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, T.D. accompanied by Máire Hoctor, T.D. Minister for Older People, today (Thursday, 9 October 2008) announced the publication of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008.  The Bill provides the legislative basis for the new Nursing Homes Support Scheme- A Fair Deal.

The Fair Deal, which was approved by the Government in December 2006, will make residential nursing home care: accessible  affordable and anxiety-free.

The Minister said, ‘I am very pleased to publish this draft legislation.  For the first time, it will make the arrangements for financial support for people who need long term care comprehensive, clear and coherent.

‘It is totally fair.  It is clear, sustainable and affordable.  It covers all persons in need of long term care, not alone older persons.  It covers both public and private nursing homes.

‘Under the existing 1993 scheme, the one older person in twenty who needs long-term care encounters a system that can be inconsistent and unfair, and which makes the prospect of going into a nursing home a traumatic and worrying experience for them and their family. People on the same incomes can end up with vastly different care costs. Private nursing homes are unaffordable for many, even with subvention, and the subvention system itself is riddled with anomalies.   ‘This legislation, the Fair Deal, ends all those anomalies.

‘Since the Government made its policy decision in December 2006, not a day has passed without detailed work having been carried out to ensure that this legislation would protect and support older people properly.

‘I would particularly point to the provisions relating to the appointment of a Care Representative for an older person, or a person needing long term care, to protect their rights and interests.  I believe this will give confidence to older people and their families and relieve what can be a large burden of anxiety for them.   ‘The Bill gives effect to the fundamental policy decided by the Government:

People will be asked to contribute towards their long-term nursing home care according to their means.

A person’s contribution will be measurably less than their income.

People will be sure they won’t have to sell or mortgage their home.

Families should not find themselves under big financial pressure to find large amounts of cash to pay for a relative’s care.

Contributions based on the value of a home will:

Not exceed 15% of its value, and 7½% if one person in a couple needs care

Be deferred until the settlement of their estate.

Everybody’s medical need will be assessed the same way by the HSE.

Everybody’s financial situation will be assessed the same way by the HSE.

All but those with the highest incomes should receive some financial support from the State towards nursing home care.   No-one currently in a nursing home, whether public or private, will be disadvantaged by the introduction of the Fair Deal.’

Overall, the State will continue to meet over two-thirds of the cost of long term care for the country.

The Minister will now bring the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas with a view to implementing the scheme in 2009.

The Minister also pointed out that the Fair Deal was only one component in the overall Government commitment to the development of policy on services for older people in line with the principles agreed under “Towards 2016”.

This also includes the introduction of new standards for residential care settings.  The Minister is currently considering draft “National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings” to ensure that older people in nursing homes receive quality care.  She hopes to approve the standards and underpin them with regulations by the end of this year.

Details of the scheme will be available on the HSE website,, the HSE infoline will be also be available on 1850 24 1850.