Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has questioned whether the very basis of independent care home provision is sound.
The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the Department of Health said it would establish an independent review into Dunmurry Manor care home, which has been accused of a series of failings by the Older Person’s Commissioner.
“The Department’s response was interesting because it notes care standards in care homes in the independent sector are primarily the responsibility of the provider. This is technically correct – but is it really acceptable?” said Ms Bradshaw.
“I think many would question whether there is not a clash of interest in the assumption providers of care homes are also primarily responsible for standards, and I think most would see care homes as part of the overall health and social care system rather than a private transaction.
“Therefore, although we see some progress in what the health and social care system wishes to do to address problems arising from Dunmurry Manor and provide reassurance to families, I am unclear we can be completely reassured until standards in care homes are in fact primarily the responsibility of our health and social care service.
“This is a matter of basic human dignity and people deserve better. What is required now in addition to the actions outlined by the Department is urgent consideration as to exactly how care homes are regulated and removing the clash of interest between provision and standards.
“Naturally, this urgent consideration requires an Executive to be back at work swiftly.”