Tipp nursing home operator calls for level playing field

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A Tipperary Nursing Home operator says using their facilities in an effort to ease the burden on hospitals is not as straightforward as it might seem.

It comes in the wake of comments by the Chief Executive of Nursing Homes Ireland saying there are a “significant” number of beds across the private nursing home sector available for use.

A recent survey by NHI found that a total of 760 beds were available which could care for patients remaining in hospital due to a lack of discharge options.

However Sandra Farrell of Patterson’s Nursing Home in Roscrea and Bramleigh Lodge in Cahir says unfortunately it’s not that simple.

Speaking on Tipp Today she said the two tier system of private and public nursing homes is part of the problem.

“The likes of say a nursing home like our own you might get €50,000 per bed in the private sector. In the public sector you get €80,000 per bed per year. That’s a massive difference of €30,000 per year per bed.

“So people with complex needs in a hospital – that means they have maximum dependency needs – more than likely need extra staffing in the nursing home. And because the private sector does not get the same amount of money as the public sector they don’t have extra money there to hire extra staff.”

Sandra Farrell says there needs to be a level playing field to ensure private nursing homes can continue to operate.

“This myth that public nursing homes have higher complexity needs – no they don’t. We cater for the same type of residents – the only benefit they have is they can pay their staff extra and they can retain their staff. Obviously we gave a pay rise on the 1st of January to retain our staff.”

“We have to have pay parity. Like €30,000 of a difference per bed in the public nursing home and the private nursing home – not a hope. And that’s why the smaller nursing homes are closing.”