750 older people are to be offered a nursing home place under the Fair Deal scheme.

The boost in numbers follows months of restrictions by the HSE, which had been putting a limit on the number of places allocated weekly.

It is expected that top-up funding will now be needed, in addition to the €1bn Fair Deal budget for the year, in an effort to make inroads into a waiting list of people approved for a nursing home place.

Roscommon Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins told Midwest News recently that she is aware of a number of families paying out thousands of euro weekly for nursing home care for a loved one, who has qualified for the Fair Deal Scheme, but had not secured it.

In some cases, older people are waiting two months or longer for a place.

The Irish Independent reported earlier this week that a record 769 patients nationally, who are medically fit could not be discharged because of a lack of step-down care, and were occupying hospital beds.

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