The Annual Conference, held at Lyrath Estate, Co Kilkenny, is NHI’s single biggest event.

It brings together national and international health speakers, as well as exhibitors and members of the organisation.

Attendance at the NHI Annual Conference 2022 is set to place companies around Ireland directly into the hands of nursing home decision makers.

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During the conference, an emergency meeting will also be held to discuss the crisis caused by the drastic underfunding in care.

In his opening speech, David Cullinane, Sinn Féin, shadow Minister for Health in Ireland said: “When I talk about a sustainable care sector, that will entail a big cost to the State, but that is one I believe is worth paying.”

“I want to be Minister for Health, and I want to engage with people in this room. I wish you a very successful conference.”

Mr Cullinane addressed creating an alternative to the Fair Deal scheme. He explained: “Community nursing homes need to be invested in, but we have to accept that private nursing homes also need to be invested in. The Fair Deal scheme largely works.

“The debate for me is: what additional funding is necessary?”

He said costs are increasing so we need to assess how they are increasing and how government can help.

“Care workers need to have a fair level of pay, and one that is level with HSE workers.

“I certainly wouldn’t suppress the pay in the public system.” He explained instead, he would raise pay for private nursing home workers.”

The one day event today included a line up of speakers; Clinical Psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy on the sector’s future, Matthew Austin, Partner Hayes Solicitors on inspections, Tina Boland, Project Lead, National Care Experience Programme on the Nursing Home Experience Survey, and many more.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO will close the conference later today.

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