Dáil Éireann - Volume 427 - 02 March, 1993

Written Answers. - Admissions to Long-Stay Hospitals.

171. Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the number of people under 65 years of age, suffering from serious incapacitating illnesses normally associated with older people, that many of these people are being maintained in acute hospital medical beds; his views on the fact that these patients are unable to gain admission to beds in long stay hospitals; and if he will ensure that admission to long stay beds is based on need rather than on chronological age.

Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): I am aware of the situation of persons under 65 years in acute hospital beds who would be better looked after in a long-stay nursing environment and the difficulty that such patients may experience in getting admission to long-stay hospitals.

This year £4 million has been made available for the phased implementation of the Nursing Homes Act, 1990. A sum of £.5 million has already been allocated from this amount to the Eastern Health Board to transfer patients from acute hospitals to long-stay accommodation in anticipation of the commencement of the Act later this year.

Under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, 1990 a health board may pay a subvention to a person who requires long-stay nursing care and who cannot afford to pay for it, irrespective of age. The subvention may be paid following an assessment of dependency and the means and circumstances of each person. The new Act will be implemented later this year.