The consultation process on the future of care homes has been branded a ‘farce’ by TUV leader, Jim Allister.
And he has also demanded to know if a ‘ban’ on admissions to existing homes during the consultation period had been imposed at the ‘direction’ of Health Minister, Edwin Poots.
He was speaking after attending a Health and Social Care Board consultation session alongside representatives from Unions, care home staff and relatives of residents.
Mr. Allister said: “The proposed criteria put forward by the HSC Board was quite simply a farce – it was entirely contrived to give only one sadly predictable outcome, that residential care homes would have to be closed.
“The criteria are predicated on the assumption that private facilities are better, and we all know that statutory residential homes such as Pinewood, The Roddens and Rosedale, to name but a few, are superb facilities.
“The criteria also set out that residential care homes will be judged on their admissions, but there has and continues to be a ban on new admissions! How absurd and insulting is it that this can be given any weight in the criteria. Of course there will be a trend for private care homes if no new admissions are granted to statutory homes.
“Ever since this process became public last April TUV have set out a fair way to move forward: end the ban on permanent admissions and give the residential care homes a level playing field to compete with the private sector. Only then will a comparison of services, cost, admissions etc be valuable.
“Those present also heard the ‘bombshell’ from an HSC Board representative who expressly said that it was the Minister who directed that the ban on admissions continue during the consultation period. I have written to John Compton, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board, to ascertain the accuracy of this disclosure.
“Minister Poots can blame the Trusts all he wants, but the buck stops with him.”