Pensioners Reveal 'Serious Concerns' Over NI Health & Social Care Provision

Pensioners have revealed serious concerns over the health and social care provision in Northern Ireland, according to a new report.

The report, launched by the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, represents the views of 700 older people from across Northern Ireland.

It exposed fears in relation to hospital safety, concerns about home care packages and GP appointments, and anxiety about proposals to introduce prescription charges.

Age Sector Platform, the charity responsible for the Pensioners Parliament, has described the report as "damning" and says it serves to illustrate that health and social care provision is only worsening, despite ambitious plans for reform.

Robert Hasson from Age Sector Platform commented: "The fact that more than one in three older people would not feel safe in hospital if they were very ill is an indictment of the health service here. But concerns are not confined to acute care; with three out of four older people describing time allocated for domiciliary care as inadequate, and three out of four finding it harder to get an appointment with their GP compared to five years' ago. These findings should be the basis for decisions made in relation to providing health and social care in future – they represent the voices of older people; the biggest users of the health and social care service here.

"Worryingly, the majority of older people do not believe decisions made in relation to health and social care are open and transparent. Premature decisions made in relation to statutory residential care homes and meals on wheels services have certainly added to this mistrust. It's clear the only way trust can be earned back is through genuine and meaningful consultation with patients and honest communication with the public."


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