Thursday, 15 October 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
154. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if applications submitted for the fair deal nursing home support scheme will be backdated to 27 October 2009 if they are eligible. [36413/09]
Minister of State at the Department of the Health and Children (Deputy Áine Brady): The legislation provides that anyone in an approved private nursing home immediately prior to the 27th October who applies for and receives State support under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme will have their support backdated to that date (27th October).
155. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has guidelines governing the fitness of a person to sign a consent which avoids a court procedure under the fair deal scheme. [36414/09]
Minister of State at the Department of the Health and Children (Deputy Áine Brady): I understand the Deputy’s question to refer to a person’s capacity to apply for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. It is a well established common law principle that individuals must be presumed to have capacity until the contrary is proven. The new Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 provides, for the first time, for an explicit statutory statement of this common law presumption. In so doing, the Act is in keeping with the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission’s Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law: it seeks to respect the dignity and autonomy of applicants to the maximum extent possible while also promoting legal certainty in relation to the common law principle of the presumption of capacity.
This principle of the presumption of capacity forms the basis for dealing with all applications under the scheme. It also constitutes the starting point for assessing capacity under section 21 of the Act in the context of applications for the appointment of care representatives. Finally, under the Act, the administration of the scheme, and preparation of any guidelines in respect of its administration, is the responsibility of the HSE. Guidelines may be prepared by the HSE and must be approved by the Minister for Health and Children.
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