Parties urged to back free personal care for elderly

Alliance Health Spokesperson Kieran McCarthy MLA has urged Assembly members from other parties to back his amendments to a Health and Social Services Bill in Stormont on Monday.

Mr McCarthy’s amendments would mean that older people would be able to benefit from free personal care, as well as free nursing care. The Strangford MLA, who is also chair of the cross-party group on ageing and older people, said he hoped parties in the Executive would lend him their support on an issue which affects many older people.

Mr McCarthy has been campaigning for free personal care for older people virtually since the Assembly came into operation. Last year Mr McCarthy brought forward a joint motion to the Assembly with Nigel Dodds (DUP) which urged the Executive to provide both free nursing and free personal care, as recommended by the Royal Commission.

He said: “This is a great opportunity to show that the Assembly can do something very positive for older members of society who cannot afford free personal care, such as help with getting dressed, taking medication or making a fire.”

“It is, of course, going to mean spending money, but if the determination is there, then it can be done. It is already a fact of life in Scotland, thanks to devolution, and I want to see it here too – and soon.”

“I would ask members of other parties to throw their weight behind my amendments and show the public that the Assembly is about much more than sectarian grandstanding. It can – and has – done much for older people, and this is one of the most important issues affecting pensioners in Northern Ireland today.”


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