The Ulster Unionist Party’s North Antrim MLA Robin Swann has called for “clarity and certainty around the Northern Trust plans for residential home closures”.
Mr Swann said:
“The Transforming Your Care proposals promoted by the Health Minister clearly outline the direction of travel in terms of statutory residential home closures.
“However, such proposals should always be accompanied by clearly identified alternatives which have been robustly consulted upon.
“Clearly this decision by the Trust puts the cart before the horse and I call upon the Trust to outline the alternatives in terms of care packages and the number of new supported housing units being introduced.
“This is so that people can have the confidence that these proposals are part of a thought through strategy rather than a mere cost-cutting exercise. Edwin Poots must come out and state his position clearly on this matter, and in particular if he stands by his comments of the 23rd February 2009 when he proposed the following DUP motion in the Assembly –
"That the Assembly expresses its opposition to the proposed closure of residential care homes by a number of Health and Social Care Trusts; and calls on the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to intervene and listen to the concerns of the community and take appropriate action to minimise the pain, stress and anxiety that this uncertainty has created among elderly care home residents, their families and health workers."
Mr Poots himself said: "If we go down the route of doing away with statutory residential care, we could end up with a situation similar to that in England, where care in residential private nursing homes is of a much lower standard than we would expect for our elderly people."
Is Edwin Poots really about to preside over an administration which in his own words, will deliver care “of a much lower standard” for our elderly people?”