Coverage examples: Every week we take a look at the stories sent through MediaHQ’s press release distribution tool and post the best covered ones in a weekly blog. For this week, Nursing Homes Ireland and Turn2Me made it to the top of our list.
1) Nursing Homes Ireland
Title: Increase in Fair Deal discrimination in Waterford as HSE fees are published
Author: Michael McGylnn
Email delivery rate: 98%
Time of release: 10:43 on the 2nd of May 2023
Average €232 more payable on behalf of HSE residents in Co Waterford under Fair Deal as cost of care crisis persists for private and voluntary nursing homes
2nd May 2023: New HSE figures reveal the level of discrimination applied by the State in the funding of its nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme is escalating, amidst the cost of care crisis that has led to an unprecedented level of closure of private and voluntary nursing homes. Recently published figures reveal HSE nursing homes receive an average 69% more (€744), per resident, per week, under Fair Deal fees payable by comparison with private and voluntary counterparts.
In Co Waterford, the average fee payable on behalf of an individual nursing home resident in a HSE nursing home is now €232 above that payable to counterparts in private and voluntary nursing homes. In January 2022, the disparity was €145. Waterford's HSE fees includes Dunabbey House, an anomaly within the HSE Cost of Care figures at €322. The published fees, for January 2023, inform across every county over the past year, the disparity under the scheme has increased. In three counties – Laois, Longford and Westmeath, HSE nursing home fees for resident care are double those payable to private and voluntary counterparts.
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “While the funding crisis has led to the closure of over 20 nursing homes the past year, the already considerable gulf in payments to HSE nursing homes has increased. HSE nursing homes now, on average, are receiving close to an average €800 extra funding per resident, per week, for nursing home care. In January 2022, the average difference was over €600 per resident and it is now approaching €800. Fees payable to HSE nursing homes signify the reality of nursing home care costs. There are multiple analyses of Fair Deal finding the fee setting process, which is not applicable to State nursing homes, is not commensurate with the reality of nursing home resident care costs. HSE nursing homes are provided with fees that are commensurate with resident care costs. The chasm in how the State funds its own nursing homes represents discrimination against nursing home residents and those entrusted in meeting their health and social care needs. It is discriminatory use of public funding and private and voluntary nursing homes are forced to close while HSE nursing homes receive multiples in funding.”
A Value for Money Review commissioned by the Department of Health pointed to the discrimination in fees payable prohibiting the capacity of private and voluntary nursing homes to compete with HSE nursing homes in remuneration for healthcare assistant staff. Mr Daly said: “The discrimination being operated under Fair Deal has a direct effect upon the ability of nursing homes to appropriately remunerate and retain staff who are vital to meeting our older population’s health and social care needs. The prejudicial process discriminates against staff in private and voluntary nursing homes. A Fair Deal that is fair to all providers should be underpinned by the principle of equal pay for equal work.”
NHI has called on Government to expedite its continually stated commitment to implement measures to bring stability to the sector, which was recently reiterated within its Sláintecare progress report. Incredibly, the apparent urgency to address the cost of care crisis is resulting in the development of a policy paper on the future direction of the sector being put on hold. Mr Daly states: “A cost of care crisis continues to present for nursing home care in Ireland, with 20 nursing homes closing their doors the past year. It is a crisis that has been acknowledged by Government on a long-standing basis, yet repeated promises to bring into effect a response are still outstanding. It is irresponsible and bitterly disappointing that it has now stalled on implementation of a policy paper to provide the sector with much needed direction. Communities are losing nursing home care services and this will have very detrimental implications and leave health and social care without vital services. The closures will continue until urgent stability and confidence is brought into being by Government. A key learning emerging from Covid19 was the absence of policy and direction to support nursing home care. The failure to push on in bringing into effect systematic reform highlights an unwillingness to implement the recommended fundamental reform in how nursing home care is delivered.”
Tadhg Daly is available for further interview. Interviews will be facilitated by Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications and Research Executive, who can be contacted at 087 9082970.
Note for Editor
- Click here for a breakdown of the average fees payable on a county-by-county basis and nationally.
- Extract from Sláintecare Progress Report 2022, published 28thMarch, page 61.
- Deliverable: Develop a policy paper on the future direction of long-term residential care infrastructure and financial sustainability.
- End of Year Position Status: Significant Delay Deliverable
- Comment – end of year position: Scoping work has commenced on the development of this paper, however this project is now paused. Immediate sustainability concerns must be addressed as a priority therefore resources have been reallocated accordingly. Any measures to address nursing home closures and other reductions in capacity in the short term will involve consideration of impacts on long-term sustainability.
Title: Mental Health Charity Launches free support groups for the Leaving Cert
Author: Fiona O’Malley
Email delivery rate: 98%
Time of release: 09:50 on the 4th of May 2023
Mental Health Charity Launches free support groups for the Leaving Cert
Turn2Me, a national mental health charity, will begin free online support groups, starting next week until the end of June, for students and parents feeling stressed about the Leaving Cert. The charity first launched Leaving Cert support groups for students last year and said this year, it would also launch a separate support group for parents, after receiving feedback from its users.
Turn2Me stated that the Leaving Cert can be an extremely stressful time for young people and their families, and that it can cause panic attacks, anxiety, and low self-esteem for many. Turn2Me stated that these support groups will be a space where young people and parents can share their struggles anonymously and receive tips on how to deal with stress, panic attacks, anxiety, and other issues from a mental health professional.
“Young people can really struggle with their stress levels, coming up to the Leaving Cert,” Fiona O’Malley, CEO of Turn2Me said, “It can be challenging to perform well in a particular type of exam, primarily ‘rote learning’ or a memory test, with some exams back-to-back. It’s a marathon and if students don’t manage their stress levels throughout the Leaving Cert, it can have a detrimental impact on their performance throughout the exams.”
Turn2Me recommended creating a study timetable and sticking to it; taking regular breaks; writing revision notes; using ‘Brainscape’ – a flashcards learning app; staying hydrated and eating healthy foods; deep breathing; going for a jog or a walk in the morning; and doing yoga or stretching in the evenings to improve sleep quality. The charity also encouraged students and parents who are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about the Leaving Cert to join its free online support group.
The Turn2Me Leaving Cert Students support group will run on Wednesdays at 6pm, and the Turn2Me Leaving Cert Parents support group will run on Thursdays at 6pm. To sign up, go to Turn2Me.ie
Turn2me was founded in 2009 stemming from the very personal experiences of Oisin and Diarmuid Scollard, who lost their brother, Cormac, to suicide in 2003. In 2013, turn2me gained the support of the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention to deliver counselling online. In 2019, turn2me joined forces with ReachOut Ireland to create a space for young people to find information to support their mental health online. As of September 2021, turn2me offers adult counselling and peer support services to adults and young people aged 12 plus. It also offers group support services for teenagers, young people, and adults. Turn2Me had helped over 120,000 people since it was set up in 2009.
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