A week in a HSE nursing home costs the same as six nights at the plush Ritz Hotel in London

Abbeyleix Community Unit in Co Laois has emerged as having the most expensive accommodation costs in the country with a week's stay estimated at €4,082.

The HSE has published the weekly cost of care in its public nursing homes, which work out at up to four times the weekly subvention it pays to some private nursing homes.

The weekly costs of a nursing home do not affect fees paid by individual residents availing of the State-subsidised Fair Deal scheme.

The fees under the scheme are the same for the resident - regardless of whether they are living in a high or lower cost home - because they are assessed on their individual income and assets.

The newly published figures sparked outrage among private nursing home owners who said they are being discriminated against.

The highest weekly costs of €1,245 for private nursing homes are in Ryevale nursing home which is located in Leixlip and Kiltipper Woods nursing home in Tallaght, Dublin. Many average around €1,000 although some are as low as €745.

The HSE defended the higher accommodation costs in its homes on a number of grounds, including having higher numbers of nurses on its staff.

There is also the cost of upkeep of old buildings along with a reliance on agency workers.

Health Minister Simon Harris said HSE-run nursing homes are more expensive because they care for residents with most complex needs, such as advanced dementia.

Source: www.independent.ie