HSE Cutbacks: A Goldmine for Private Nursing Homes

Workers Party health spokesperson Padraig Mannion has labelled the forced closure of between 650 and 800 public nursing home beds, approximately 10% of the present total, as a potential goldmine for the private profit nursing home industry.

"Demographically" said Mr Mannion "Ireland has an ageing population. It is obvious that in the future we will need more sheltered accommodation, more retirement facilities, and more nursing home beds to cater for this demographic change. Yet at a government and HSE level the exact opposite is happening. Public nursing home beds are being closed and we are being told that this is being forced on us by the IMF/EU/ECB troika. However despite the troika the government can find increased resources to fund private nursing homes through the NHSS scheme.  It is a disgrace and a nonsense and we must wonder at the objectivity of some politicians in this debate considering their own relationship to the private nursing home industry".


"Elderly citizens and their families are being backed into an unenviable corner. Their choice is trying to maintain an elderly and ill person in their own home when it may be no longer safe or dignified to so or else they are being forced into dealing with the for-profit nursing home industry. It is truly appalling that the Labour Party in government has rolled over and allowed our elderly citizens to become easy pickings for this notoriously unreliable industry".


"One of the cruel ironies of the present situation is that while government spending on public nursing homes is being slashed with a vengeance the owners/developers of the nursing homes are most likely still claiming tax reliefs from our cash-strapped state dating from schemes introduced by the totally discredited FF-PD coalitions."


The Workers Party spokesperson concluded that "bed-blocking" will be an inevitable consequence of this cutback as there will be a: "major reluctance by elderly patients to be discharged from acute hospitals and by relatives to accept elderly patients home from hospitals because of the massive nursing home costs and uncertainties which face them".

Issued: Tue 17th Jan 2012

Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics