Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly has said it is vital that there is consistency in the assessment of older people and the processing of applications under the Nursing Home Support Scheme.

Ms O’Reilly made her comments in a submission to the Department of Health for its review of the scheme.

The Ombudsman also said there must be clarity in the provision of ancillary services as to what is covered and what is not covered.

She expressed concern about the suitability of the scheme for the ''young chronic sick'', who are people under 65.

The Ombudsman said that in the context of the health service reforms, there should be an emphasis on allowing people to remain at home for as long as possible.