McCarthy welcomes Health Committee inquiry

Alliance Health spokesperson Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the Health Committee’s decision to hold an inquiry into the future of residential care homes, following the ending of a consultation into controversial Government plans to close a number of facilities here.

Earlier this week, trade unions protested outside Stormont over the possible closure of several NHS-run facilities, demanding the Government rethink its proposals to close homes over the next two years. A consultation into the plan closed last week.

Strangford MLA Mr McCarthy said the Committee had agreed to hold an inquiry because Health Minister Simon Hamilton was one of the ‘in-out’ DUP Ministers, meaning no major Departmental decisions were being taken.

“Families rely heavily on the excellent service these homes provide and now the very future of excellent facilities such as Slieve Roe in Kilkeel and Chestnut Grove in North Belfast are at stake,” he said.

“During last week’s protest, there was a belief that authorities had an approach of allowing homes to not allow new admissions, therefore making it easier to close in future. That is clearly not an ethical move and one which the Health Minister needs to clarify, if he decides to remain in post long enough.

“The Committee decided to move towards an inquiry when we asked about the progress on Transforming your Care, which was designed to improve the local health and social care system. To be told the recommendations have still not been fully implemented nearly four years later, is disgraceful and exacerbating this situation.”

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