*Photograph: John Mangan

LOSSES at Cahercalla Community Hospital halved to €386,751 in 2022 as the nursing home increased revenues to €5.88m.

Accounts for Cahercalla Community Hospital CLG show that the losses of €386,751 followed losses of €770,149 in 2021 as the hospital struggled financially from the impact of Covid-19.

The Ennis hospital reduced its losses in 2022 as revenues increased by 18% from €4.99m to €5.88m.

In an interview, company director at Cahercalla Community Hospital and former Independent TD for Clare, Dr Michael Harty said that the hospital continued to record a deficit in 2023 and said that the funding model for voluntary of charitable nursing homes is not adequate.

He said, “The funding mechanism is a problem through the Fair Deal administered by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF)- it is a system of funding which is archaic and way out of date”.

Dr Harty admitted, “The funding model is very difficult to understand – we don’t understand it ourselves and is really inadequate for the voluntary and not for profit charitable community nurses homes of which we are one”.

Dr Harty said that nursing homes like Cahercalla “are the poor relation” as HSE nursing homes “are funded 60 to 70 percent higher than we are”.

Dr Harty said, “The funding model now is not sufficient to allow the voluntary and charitable nursing homes to break even and we are not profit. If the HSE can be funded to the tune of 70 percent higher, we feel that we should be given an opportunity to make ends meet and have sufficient funding to continue”.

Dr Harty said that Cahercalla is hoping to negotiate a substantial increase in its State funding for 2024. He said that substantial as the 2022 deficit was “it was not anywhere near 2021”.

Underlining the cost challenges faced in 2022, Dr Harty said that Cahercalla’s energy bill went from €125,000 to €295,000.

He said that Cahercalla also faced increased agency costs and the accounts show that agency costs more than doubled rising from €207,700 to €518,828.

Numbers employed across the nursing home in 2022 increased from 117 to 132 but staff costs declined marginally from €3.63m to €3.52m.

Staff recruitment costs almost tripled in 2022 rising from €19,935 to €53,655 and Dr Harty said, “We take in staff and we train them up – they reach a certain level of experience and they are attracted over to the HSE”.

Management fees at Cahercalla Community Hospital totalled €300,980 in 2022 compared to €342,709 in 2021. Non-cash depreciation costs totalled €279,165.

The directors’ report for 2022 states that Cahercalla Community Hospital CLG “continued to be substantially impacted by Covid-19 pandemic during 2022 necessitating restriction in admissions during minor outbreaks of Covid during the year”.

The directors add, “As a result, bed occupancy was lower than expected for the first six months of 2022. Occupancy has now recovered to pre-Covid-19 levels of 95 percent capacity”.

The report adds that “with close to full occupancy during 2023, the financial situation should continue to improve”.

At the end of 2022, total funds at Cahercalla Community Hospital amounted to €6.87m. Can funds more than increased €108,185 to €246,586.

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