Nurs­ing homes ig­nored in plans but al­ways get cri­sis call

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Ni­amh Grif­fin

A PRI­VATE nurs­ing homes chief has said that ev­ery year he ex­pects a phone call from the HSE on Jan­uary 3 ask­ing for beds to help al­le­vi­ate the win­ter trol­ley cri­sis.

De­spite this, a re­quest by Nurs­ing Homes Ire­land to be part of the Win­ter Ini­tia­tive Plan­ning was re­jected by Leo Varad­kar when he was health min­is­ter.

NHI chief Tadhg Daly says: ‘Our mem­bers are not in­volved in the plan­ning stages of the win­ter ini­tia­tives. They need to en­gage with us. Rather than ring­ing us on the third of Jan­uary, we would have a much bet­ter chance of fix­ing things if we were part of the di­a­logue.’

The Emer­gency De­part­ment Task­force was set up by then-min­is­ter Varad­kar in 2015 to tackle hos­pi­tal over­crowd­ing in win­ter. A writ­ten re­quest from Mr Daly to join the Task­force were re­buffed in Septem­ber 2015 by Mr Varad­kar’s of­fice.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said while the NHI’s ‘of­fer of help was wel­come… plan­ning was al­ready un­der way… and the NHI was not a statu­tory agency’.

The NHI again re­quested a seat at the ta­ble un­der Min­is­ter Si­mon Har­ris. In Septem­ber, the ED Task­force said it will con­sider the re­quest at its meet­ing this month. The De­part­ment re­ferred our ques­tions to the HSE, which did not re­spond. Cur­rently there are 1,200 va­cant beds in the NHI’s 440 nurs­ing homes.

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