MLA calls for meeting on future of care homes

Stewart Dickson MLA.
Stewart Dickson MLA.

EAST Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson wants to hear from constituents who are concerned about the possible closure of local NHS-owned residential care homes.

With the latest review of health and social care services across Northern Ireland putting the future of several care homes in doubt, Mr Dickson is planning to hold a meeting of interested individuals and groups to discuss the threat to residential care facilities in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and Larne.

The Alliance representative said that during two meetings he had with Northern Health Trust officials last month, it was “made clear that the Trust intend to withdraw from providing residential care home services.” And he warned that such a move could bring about the closure of Clonmore House in Rathcoole, as well as Lisgarel in Larne and Joymount House in Carrickfergus by 2015.

“We (the Alliance Party) believe that older people must have a genuine choice about their care. That choice should include both the option to remain in their own homes with a full range of coordinated care services and the option of residential care accommodation,” Mr Dickson, commented.

“I am happy to support a campaign for the retention of appropriate residential care home accommodation across east Antrim and would like to host a meeting with interested parties to discuss how we can take this forward. If anyone would like to attend, please contact me on 028 9335 0286,” he added.

While no date for the meeting will be finalised until Mr Dickson (right) has gauged public interest, he is hoping that it will take place within the next few weeks.

The Northern Health Trust has stressed that no decisions have yet been made regarding the future of Clonmore House or other care homes in its area. However, the Trust Board are expected to meet later this month to discuss options for local care homes, which could include closing facilities or transferring them to private ownership.