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This is despite discussions at the January meeting of the Interdepartmental Working Group on the NHSS, which heard suggestions that if “something like physiotherapy is required, the HSE should cover the cost of that”.
Minutes of the Working Group meeting have been seen by this newspaper following a Freedom of Information request.
Following this suggestion at the January meeting, it was later noted at the meeting that “therapy” is not included “in the Fair Deal basket of services” and that “the majority of residents have medical cards”.
A Department spokesperson said there are no plans to extend the NHSS to areas such as physiotherapy.
“There are no plans to extend the basket of services covered by the Scheme,” a spokesperson said.
“The terms of reference of the pricing review being undertaken by the National Treatment Purchase Fund specify that the review be undertaken on the basis that the basket of services and supports covered by the NHSS will remain unchanged.
“The NHSS covers the cost of the standard components of long-term residential care, which are: nursing and personal care appropriate to the level of care needs of the person; bed and board; [and] basic aids and appliances necessary to assist a person with the activities of everyday living and laundry service.”
The Department spokesperson added, “therapy services are not funded by the NHSS, but rather are funded by the HSE Community Health Organisations (CHOs)”.
“It should be noted that a person’s eligibility for other schemes, such as the medical card scheme or the Drugs Payment Scheme, is unaffected by participation in the NHSS or residence in a nursing home. In determining the services covered by the Scheme, it was considered very important that the care recipient and the taxpayer would be protected and would not end up paying for the same service twice.”