Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “I would like to pay tribute to those who voiced their objections to this decision. It was their vocal opposition that ensured that these Trusts could not make such unilateral decisions without taking account of the views of patients and family members.
“The decision of these three Trusts to move away from the Transforming Your Care recommendations has made me deeply sceptical of their commitment to the rest of this document.
“We must do all that is possible to ensure that elderly members of our society are provided with the services and support required to be able to remain in their own home. However when this is no longer possible, the state has a duty to provide residential or nursing home care, whether it is provided by the public or private sector.
“Any decision to close any of these residential care homes must be done in consultation and agreement with residents and their families. The possibility of letting residents stay until they pass away must be considered.
“The Alliance Party are opposed to any attempt to introduce privatisation by stealth. While there have been arguments that the private sector would do it better, there is a belief that they tend to only provide the simplier and more profitable services, leaving the more complex and less profitable services to the health service.”