The Health Service Executive has said "arrangements are being made" to facilitate the transfer of a woman to her husband’s nursing home, after the couple were separated under the Fair Deal Scheme.

In a statement, the HSE said her transfer would be made as soon as possible.

It said it is liaising directly with the family in this regard.

Michael Devereux, 89, and Kathleen, 85, applied as a couple for the Fair Deal Scheme.

Mr Devereux was accepted, but his wife's application was rejected.

Speaking on RTÉ's Liveline yesterday, he said that he struggles to sleep away from his partner.

He said that it is the first time they have been separated after 63 years of marriage.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

In a statement this afternoon, the HSE said its "Social Care Division became aware of the circumstances of the Devereux family through radio coverage on RTÉ 1 yesterday.

"Following this, the National Director for Social Care immediately initiated a review of Mrs Devereux's care needs and the totality of her circumstances.

"This review has commenced and will be undertaken as quickly as possible in the coming days.  The review will take account of an updated clinical assessment as well as the provisions of the Nursing Home Support Scheme (NHSS).

"In the meantime, arrangements are being made through the HSE's transitional care service to facilitate Mrs Devereux's transfer to her husband's nursing home as soon as possible."

A spokesperson for Minister for Health Simon Harris said: "Minister Harris is pleased that this situation has now been addressed by the HSE with compassion and recognition for the family's circumstances and looks forward to seeing Michael and Kathleen reunited."

The Chief Executive of Age Action said he was "relieved and delighted" that the case has been resolved.

But, speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Justin Moran said that we need to start thinking about how we plan home and nursing home care in years to come, because people are living longer lives.

Earlier, a legal adviser with Sage, an advocacy group for older people, described the case as "appalling", but added that she was not totally surprised by the situation, saying she had come across a few similar cases.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mary Condell said the circumstances that saw Mr Devereux accepted but Ms Devereux rejected were nothing to do with finances but was based on a "care needs assessment".

Ms Condell said this assessment was based purely on physical needs and ignored the emotional needs of a couple and the fact that they generally "prop each other up".

She said that while there is an appeals system, she did not know how successful it was.

She added that because the State has concentrated on funding nursing home care, there are many people in homes who do not need to be there but could be cared for at home with a proper care package.