Press Release

Tánaiste Signs Health (Charges for In-Patient Services) Regulations, 2005 providing legal basis for in-patient charges

Ms Mary Harney TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, with her colleague Mr Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Finance, today (Tuesday, June 14th) signed the Health (Charges for In-Patient Services) Regulations, 2005, which will allow for the charging of people in receipt of in-patient services.

The Regulations re-instate charges for in-patient services and put them on a sound legal basis for the first time in 29 years.

The Regulations have provided for two different classes of persons on whom charges can be levied.

Class 1

The first class refers to people in receipt of in-patient services on premises where nursing care is provided on a 24 hour basis on those premises. In this case, a weekly charge can be levied of €120 or the weekly income of that person less €35, whichever is the lesser.

Class 2

The second class refers to people in receipt of in-patient services on premises where nursing care is not provided on a 24 hour basis on those premises. In this situation, a weekly charge can be levied of €90, or the weekly income of that person less €55 or 60% of the weekly income of that person, whichever is the lesser.

These regulations provide for the maximum charge to be levied on either class of person. However, Section 53(4) of the Health Act, 1970, as amended, provides that the HSE may reduce or waive a charge imposed on a person in order to avoid undue financial hardship to that person. As provided for in the Health (Amendment) Act, 2005, the charging cannot commence until 30 days after the Regulations come into force. This means that charges will begin to be levied with effect from the 14th July, 2005.

The Tánaiste commented “Most people accept that those who can afford to pay should make a contribution toward the cost of their maintenance. After all those that live in their own homes have to do so. The monies received by the HSE through the levying of these charges will continue to provide funding for the services being made available to older people, as well as those receiving support from the disability and mental health services.”