Delayed discharges costing health service over

half a million euro every night

HCCI calls for urgent overhaul of home care provision to free up acute hospital beds

28 August 2013

Figures obtained by Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) from the HSE reveal that 685 patients are occupying hospital beds across the country, despite the fact that their acute care has ended and they are medically fit to be discharged. Almost 90% of these are elderly patients over 65 for whom alternative arrangements have not been put in place.

The HSE's own figures estimate the cost of a hospital stay per night at €800-€900 amounting to a conservative total cost of at least €540,000 each night the 685 patients remain in hospital, or the equivalent of over 25,700 hours of home care. The main reasons for the delay include people awaiting approval for nursing home care under the Fair Deal scheme, people waiting for home help, a home care package, access to a rehabilitation facility, or equipment from the HSE.

Michael Harty, Chair of Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), said:

The most recent delayed discharge figures demonstrate once again the cost of the Government's refusal to provide a sustainable, joined up approach to elder care. Despite continued calls for action by HCCI, practices such as the ring-fencing of one type of care over another and premature admissions into nursing homes persist. This inefficient system is costing the exchequer millions each year, and directly contradicts stated Government policy of helping people to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Increasing home care funding could save millions annually by enabling faster discharge, thereby freeing up valuable resources for frontline services. At the same time it would allow elderly, dependent people to live at home for longer, as well as prevent unnecessary admission in the first place.

HCCI wants a cost effective approach to elder care in Ireland which allows elderly people to live with dignity. Our report from this year outlines how the Government can save up to €48 million in the next year alone, in addition to increasing transparency and patient choice. Despite these considerations, they have so far been unmoved by our appeals. We would urgently call on the Government and HSE to address these issues in the forthcoming tender for homecare provision.


For more information or a copy of the report, please contact:
Lorna Jennings: 086 790 9915 or Edel Bach: 086 045 3821 /
Delayed Discharge figures from HSE Delayed Discharges, National Report, 13th August 2013, Report Produced on 14th August.

About the Report:

HCCI commissioned EPS Consulting to explore the business case for a wider range of home care services to be tendered in line with the Department of Health's challenge: that change should be implemented at scale and pace and more care should be delivered in the community.

The report provides evidence-based research to support the case for a phased outsourcing of home care services to 2021 in line with the Minister for Health and HSE calls for increased efficiencies and innovative models of care.

It also questions the wisdom of ring fencing budgets for one type of care over another rather than letting the money follow the patient in line with Government policy. The report found that up to €2bn could be saved over the next nine years if outsourcing and competitive tendering are brought in as Government policy.

About Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI):

Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) was set up in June 2012 following a merger of the Home Care Association and the Professional Institute of Care Providers. It is the representative body for private home care organisations in Ireland with the primary objective of promoting the highest professional standards of care in the home, in a cost-effective manner.

At present the HCCI has 25 member companies providing employment to almost 8,000 staff and caring for over 6,000 people across every county in Ireland. Home care is a care alternative that is preferred by the majority of care recipients, contributes to improved quality of life and is a cost-effective treatment option. Our members include operators across the country providing 78,000 hours of care each week at the frontline of health service provision.

For further information: