Delay in new Fair Deal Scheme ‘placing intolerable stress on families’

Delays to the reform of the Nursing Home Support Scheme, also known as the Fair Deal Scheme, have been labelled as “intolerable and totally unacceptable” by independent TD Carol Nolan.

The Laois-Offaly TD commented after being contacted by constituents who have loved ones in nursing homes, as well as nursing home providers who say the “future of the entire scheme is in jeopardy if the government does not put the issue up the political agenda”.

Deputy Nolan said: “The delays in reforming the Fair Deal Scheme is nothing short of scandalous at this stage.

Families and providers who had been assured that measures to improve the system and make it more equitable for farming families have been left out to dry.

“We need to get this issue back on to the political priority list as a matter of urgency. Indeed, I have written to the Minister of State for Older People Mary Butler to try and ensure that this happens.

“It is not like this government and indeed the previous government did not have time either.”

The TD noted that a review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) was published by the Minister for Health in July 2015.

She added: “Since then various ministers have made commitment after commitment that the outstanding issues in need of reform would be tackled.

Yet here we are now, five years later and still no sign of the kind of legislation we need that would give effect to the promised reforms around contributions and eligibility.

The independent TD highlighted that there are “at least 20,000 people” who rely on this service, adding that this number is increasing all the time.

“It is high time they received the ‘fair deal’ that has been long promised but never delivered,” deputy Nolan concluded.