Care home residents 'still uncertain'

Published Wednesday, 08 May 2013
Comments
Toggle font size
Print

Care home residents have told UTV they are still uncertain as to what the future holds, despite an apology from Health Minister Edwin Poots.

Care home residents 'still uncertain'
UTV first spoke to Pinewood residents after breaking the story two weeks ago. (© UTV)

Two weeks ago it emerged that the Northern Trust was planning to eventually close all of its residential homes, as part of the Transforming Your Care reforms.

Similar proposals were then revealed to be in place in the northern and southern areas.

Amid growing public outcry, Mr Poots summoned the heads of the five trusts together for a meeting last week and announced that all planned closures were to be halted.

The minister then apologised in the Assembly for the distress caused to elderly people.

He said: "I know that several older people have been upset by the proposed changes and I want to apologise to them for any unintentional stress that may have been generated.

"The current process has been stopped so the current threat to any residential home being closed in the course of the next six months is gone."

In the wake of the apology, UTV returned to Pinewood care home in Ballymena Co Antrim, which had been earmarked for closure, to find that while two of the residents' daughters have started a petition to save the care home, they are still unclear about its future.

"There's still uncertainty," said Joan McKibben.

It's good of him to apologise and I thank him for that but I still think there's something down the line

Joan McKibben

"I'm no further forward other than in terms of what I'm reading in the local papers and seeing on TV but as far as I'm concerned we've been told six months but that's all.

"I still think there's something earmarked for this home. I think it will be a short term measure but we haven't been told by management. We haven't received communication."

While pleased about the apology, Margaret Wallace whose mother Agnes is 102 says she has yet to be formally told what's going on.

She says she is still concerned Pinewood will eventually close and called for the minister to visit and speak to the residents.

Margaret said: "The minister hasn't got in touch with us, the people in the home.

"He went to one home but he hasn't come to this home and I don't know about the rest but he has to get out and speak to us."

Mr Poots said a new process with "sensitivity" at its core is to be put in place with closures to be handled by the Health and Social Care Board.

No-one from the board wished to be interviewed, but in a statement said it was "taking stock of the current situation" and looking to "reduce stress and anxiety" for the elderly population.

A spokesperson continued: "The board has been asked by the minister to develop a regional process, working closely with Trusts, for consulting and implementing Transforming Your Care in relation to Statutory Residential Care Homes.

"This plan will be shared publicly, when it has been approved by the minister, at our earliest opportunity and in particular to the residents in our care and their relatives."

Mr Poots and his senior officials are to appear before the Stormont Health Committee about their handling of the care homes controversy on Thursday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
3 Comments
norman.d in bangor wrote (446 days ago):
the care homes will close over a longer period it will be run by the private sector we are seeing the run down of the health service bit by bit
Mike in Antrim wrote (446 days ago):
This current debacle needs to be sorted out asap, that is if the locally elected politicians are up to the job and to be frank, I very much doubt that. Direct rule was a better alternative!!
Care Assistant in Bangor wrote (446 days ago):
It will go ahead just like it has been done in North Down,
POST A COMMENT:
Name:  
Email address*:    
Location:  
Validation:
House Rules:  
Your Comment:  
[All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. Your name, location and comment will be displayed on this page if your post passes moderation.]
BRIAN ROWAN
The pictures from Stormont this week showed us how politics here still walks in and out of step.
MOST POPULAR GALLERIES
Twelfth of July
Sat 12 July 2014
The Open Championship
Sun 20 July 2014
July sunshine
Thu 24 July 2014