Press Release

Tánaiste Welcomes Launch of Scheme to Repay Charges for Publicly Funded Long Stay Care

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Ms. Mary Harney T.D., today (14th August, 2006) welcomed the launch of the repayment scheme to repay those wrongly charged for publicly funded long stay residential care. The scheme was launched by the Health Service Executive and the scheme administrator KPMG/McCann Fitzgerald. A national public information campaign is now underway to assist those who may be due a repayment to make an application.

The scheme will repay charges which were wrongly applied to patients in publicly funded long stay care, patients in publicly contracted beds in private nursing homes and patients in receipt of inpatient services in community based facilities. The legislation underpinning the repayment scheme came into effect on 30 June 2006.

The Tánaiste stated “the legislation which provides a clear legal framework for the scheme and the public launch and information campaign will ensure that repayments will now be made as quickly as possible to all those who were wrongly charged while also placing appropriate safeguards in place to prevent exploitation of those who receive repayments”.

The Tánaiste added “the overall cost of the repayment scheme will be approximately €1 billion and the Government will provide €340 million of this money in 2006, with the balance being provided in 2007/2008”. It is understood that a significant proportion of the repayments will be made before the end of 2006, with priority being given to those who are still alive.

Section 16 of the Health (Repayment Scheme) Act, 2006 provides an applicant with the right to an independent appeal against the decision made by the Scheme Administrator. The Tánaiste added “arrangements for the establishment of the Long Stay Charges Appeals Office are being finalised and I am confident that any appeals will be handled in an efficient and effective manner”. Contact details and information on the appeals process will be made available shortly.

People receiving repayments have the option to donate some or all of this amount to the Repayment Scheme Donation Fund. This fund will be used specifically for improving long stay care and will be in addition to normal State funding. The Tánaiste stated “people have already indicated their interest in contributing to the Donation Fund and I would encourage everyone to give this option careful consideration.”