EU and banks are funding hundreds of new nursing home beds in six counties

The EU, the Bank of Ireland and Nord LB, a German state bank, are providing €250 million to partially fund 530 new beds in care homes across the country.

The beds cost the Health Service Executive 24 million euros a year.

Funding for the project, Ireland’s first-ever public-private partnership for community health care, closed last week. Seven new units will be built in Louth, Westmeath, Tipperary, Kerry, Kilkenny and Cork.

The largest 130-bed unit will be built in Killarney, Co. Kerry. It will include three ten-bed households specifically for people with dementia.

Two facilities are to be built in Cork: a 50-bed unit at Midleton and a 105-bed unit at St Finbarr’s. The latter includes 30 dementia beds.

A 95-bed bistro, including 20 dementia beds, is being built in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.

And 50 bed units are being built in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Ardee, Co. Louth and Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The Athlone unit will include a dementia day care centre.

Construction at all sites except Athlone and Midleton is scheduled to begin before Christmas, with the remaining two scheduled to begin in early 2023. All locations should be completed by the end of 2024.

Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly last week announced the partnership, which will be set up, funded and maintained by a joint venture between UK investment manager Equitix and builders John Sisk and Son.

The HSE will pay €24 million annually to the joint venture, known as Equisisk, for 25 years, although the sites will remain state-owned for the entire period and all patient care services will be provided by the HSE.

After 25 years, the systems will be returned to the HSE.

According to a 2020 report by real estate firm CBRE, there were 31,000 nursing home beds in the state, 80 percent of which were privately owned. Ireland needs 7,500 new beds by 2026 to meet the needs of an aging population.

The Bank of Ireland said in a 2021 report that the pressures of the pandemic had prompted a flight of independent care home operators, with 30 per cent of private care homes now owned by Irish and international investors and funds.

The European Investment Bank, the EU’s long-term lending arm, will provide 100 million euros for the community nursing project, it said in a statement Monday.

EIB Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsons supports the project “which will provide quality health and social care for older people across Ireland”. “The seven new residential centers for person-centred community nursing will include state-of-the-art facilities and improve care choice,” he said.

Eoin Hartigan, Bank of Ireland’s Head of Origination, Project Finance, said the units “will have a significant impact on the care of the elderly and people with dementia”.

He said the bank was “fully committed to supporting current and future Irish infrastructure projects funded by government departments and agencies”. EU and banks are funding hundreds of new nursing home beds in six counties

Fry Electronics Team

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