HSEs “Fair deal” isin’t fair, says Cork Nursing Home

St Luke’s Home, Cork is now, after almost a year of negotiation with HSE (Health
Service Executive) on the Fair Deal system, operating at 17% below breakeven point.
The Home has, as a consequence, voiced serious concerns that essential elements of
the Home’s care service package may be seriously affected unless they can raise the
funds necessary to redress the balance.

‘Fair Deal by legislation covers bed, board and basic nursing care only, in a private
nursing home. It does not fund aspects of care in St Luke’s which are considered
essential elements of our service package, such as physiotherapy, speech & language
& other occupational therapies, social activities, or specialised care equipment.
Who does, has not yet been defined or determined’ said David O’Brien, Director of
Administration at St. Luke’s.

Mr O’Brien went on to say that the Fair Deal Scheme’s introduction was broadly
welcomed when it was introduced as it replaced the existing variety of support
methods. ‘The Scheme was designed to provide a national, standardised, means
tested method of funding residents in private nursing homes with the costs shared
between the State and the resident based on their ability to pay. Therefore,
residents entering a nursing home had a choice as to where they would like to end
their days. Now this Scheme is being shown to be inadequate in some instances,
especially for organisations such as St. Luke’s who have more complex requirements.
We now find ourselves operating at a loss under this Scheme and are having to fund
it from our charity arm. This cannot continue as the charity’s funds are yielding
diminishing returns in the current economic structures and this will impinges on our
development programme for the care of the elderly which is gaining momentum as we
speak’.

Projects in train at the Home include the construction of a multi-million Education
Centre on the grounds which is under construction and due to open next year, an
increase of one third in the number of beds, and improvements to the Day Care
Centre and administrative facilities.

Mr. O’Brien was insistent that the Home was determined not to reduce their care
standards which would which go against the ethos and reputation of the Home, and
raise safety concerns for residents and their families. ‘We will tightly manage the
increasing level of deficit created as beds transfer to Fair Deal, and in the interim
fund it through other means in the hope that further negotiations with the relevant
parties will provide some resolution of the impasse, and enable charities such as St
Luke’s to survive to continue doing what they do best. With that in mind we intend to
seek financial support from outside the Home through the setting up of a Foundation
to expedite fundraising for our projects and activities and develop new fundraising
streams’ he said.

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