25/04/2013

Remaining Nursing Homes In The North Trust Area To Close

SDLP health spokesperson, Conall McDevitt MLA, has said that today's decision to close the remaining nursing homes in the Northern Trust Area will further fuel suspicions that 'Transforming Your Care' is a charter for the stealth privatisation of the health and social care system in Northern Ireland.

The South Belfast MLA said: "We have been expressing our serious concerns about the apparent privatisation agenda at the heart of Transforming Your Care for the past year.

"Today we renew our call on the Minister for Health to make a firm commitment to bring forward legislation to protect the health and social care system for privatisation.

"The NHS matters to people here. We are also very proud of the fact that our health service is integrated with our social care system.

"The public do not want to see the private sector taking a lead role in health and social care delivery. Nor does it make sense from a policy or long term financial point of view.

"By pursuing a private sector led approach to new builds in health care or the building and provision of nursing or care homes, we are effectively mortgaging a public service to organisations that are driven by the need to make money."
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Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady said the Northern Health Trust and Heath departmental officials need to clarify their reasons for their decision.

The Newry & Armagh MLA and member of the Assembly’s Health Committee said: "The Health Minister had told us that Transforming Your Care is about putting services into the community that would help with early intervention and prevention if needed.

"As part of Transforming Your Care it was recommended that there be a 50% reduction in care homes across the whole of the North.

"This is because the majority of older people wish to be cared for in their homes as long as possible. That would see more care being provided to people in their own homes through care packages and more resources being put into respite for carers.

"However, the Northern Trust would appear to be proposing closing all their residential homes and while this is not going to happen immediately, I can understand that people currently living in these homes and their families are worried about the future.

"There appears have been a lack of consultation and information going to those who this decision directly affects and that is why the Chair of the committee Sue Ramsey has asked for an urgent meeting with the Northern Trust and Health departmental officials on Monday to find out exactly what is happening."

(CD)

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