Fair deal reforms needed for farmers
Labour Party Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD, has raised concerns over the funds being allocated to the Fair Deal scheme and has called for reform to the way the scheme is being administered for farming families.
Deputy Kelly said:
“I am concerned that reform of the Fair Deal scheme has stalled despite commitments in the programme for Government. They have been making promises for long enough, especially to the farming community and I am concerned that they won’t deliver.
“In reply to questions I put to the Department of Health, it is clear that demand for nursing home places for the year so far has exceeded what the HSE expected, with over 23,228 people availing of the scheme so far in 2019. The HSE expected 23,042 to avail of the scheme throughout the whole of 2019.
“I’m worried that not enough money has been allocated to the scheme. The Department of Health need to demonstrate that they will be able to keep up with the demands of the scheme.
“Families from all walks of life are under so much pressure when it comes to the nursing home care of older family members, there must not be more administrative barriers put in front of them because of the internal forecasting issues the HSE and Department of Health are going through.
“As hundreds of farming families prepare to protest outside of the Department of Health today, the current administrative pressures they are going through must not put the Department of Health off reforming how farming families access the Fair Deal scheme.
“I understand that in the review of the Fair Deal scheme it was recommended that up to 90% of the value of a farm or commercial asset be excluded when calculating the cost of nursing home care. The real problem for many businesses, including farmers, is that they can be asset rich but cash poor. Therefore, the scheme, as constructed, cannot be construed, in any shape or form, as being fair for farmers or other businesses.
“We need to be imaginative and innovative about how we look after people who fall ill, get old and require nursing home care in the future.”