Concern over trust’s plan to axe care homes

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THERE has been an angry reaction to the Trust’s proposal to close Clonmore House, with some branding the move a money saving exercise, while others have hit out at what they see as the privatisation of health and care services.

Trade union Unison said the closures would remove any choice for vulnerable people, while Unite, described the move as “privatising elderly health care”.

One Rathcoole pensioner who contacted the Times said she was disgusted by the Trust’s plan.

“We’ve heard all this before, so it’s no real surprise. This is just another attempt by the Northern Trust to save on costs. They cut back and cut back and tell people that it’s for the best and to improve services, but how can that be the case?

“Many older people need to be in a care home; they just aren’t fit to live in their own homes. Homes like Clonmore are vital and they can’t be allowed to shut,” she said.

Expressing concern at the Trust’s announcement, North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley, a member of the Assembly Health Committee, commented: “It has caused great surprise and concern that the Northern Health and Social Care Trust has announced that it intends to work towards the closure of all nine of the care homes it owns. In Newtownabbey this will mean the closure of Clonmore House which has been a valued part of the community for several decades.

“The Northern Trust must demonstrate that it will provide the full range of services necessary to meet the needs of older people, including those who require respite and longer-term residential care in homes. Such provision must be available and accessible. My party colleagues and I will be engaging with the Trust to raise these concerns.”

The DUP representative added: “Any change in provision, particularly the closure of an existing home, will be very unsettling and difficult for residents. It will require a great deal of planning and careful transition to minimise such disruption. For staff there will be an uncertainty regarding their future and we will be seeking redeployment within the Trust.”

A number of people left comments about the issue on the Times Facebook page. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Wendy Lunn: “Where is the caring side of the NHSCT. Elderly population is increasing and they are reducing the service. Recipe for disaster.”

Joe Murray: “Absolute disgrace. I look after the elderly and ill in the community and they are cutting hours there also. Seriously who is going to look after this generation?”

Denise Smyth: “The way the elderly are treated in this country is totally disgusting!”

Mark Mccauley: “Look at England, it’s all about the privatisation. Once they r gone they r gone and when private companies have control of the market the prices will go up.”