Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said a review of the Fair Deal nursing home scheme will be published early next year.

He was responding to a Private Members motion put down by Fianna Fáil in the Dáil this evening.

Mr Varadkar said both he and Minister of State at his Department Kathleen Lynch were aware of the long waiting list and he said neither of them were happy or satisfied with the situation.

He said they were "doing everything they can to reduce the Fair Deal waiting list, in the coming weeks".

There were warnings in the Dáil this evening, over the pressure that the Fair Deal scheme waiting list is placing on elderly people and their families.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said he has had "families crying on the phone" over the matter.

"It's not fair deal" he said, it's a bad deal," he said.

Fianna Fáil's Michael Kitt said processing an application in the past was a simple procedure.

He questioned why so many people were waiting so long to get on to the scheme.

Mr Kitt acknowledged that there was a problem due to a diminished budget.

He pointed out that there was much criticism of the scheme when it was introduced by the previous Government and he called for a clearer policy in the future.