Westlands Home Faces An Uncertain Future

WESTLANDS Residential Home faces uncertainty following the announcement of shake up proposals from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

The MAIL has learned that because of its age, Westlands, along with most residential homes in the Northern Trust, are not fit to offer modern standards of accommodation to residents and staff.

To counteract this, the Northern Trust has outlined proposals which could see older people remaining at home and receiving treatment and care there for as long as possible.

“Older people, their carers and representatives told us that while our homes provide excellent care they would prefer to be able to live at home, retain their universal benefits and have independence with the Trust providing support as required for as long as possible,” confirmed a Northern Trust spokesperson.

“Many of our health and care facilities have deteriorated and are no longer a suitable environment for providing modern services and we need to address this where we can.

“Indeed our older buildings are also more difficult to maintain and heat, and these bring financial pressures that eat into scarce resources that could otherwise be directed towards direct care.

“As part of the Trust’s Comprehensive Spending Review and in response to the need to modernise services and change the way we deliver residential care, the Trust is looking at new and different ways of providing services.”

The MAIL understands the Northern Trust is considering making cuts in its current services in the hope of shifting towards a more community-based model where services will be provided from local Health and Care Centres (HCCs) and local hospitals.

A Consultation Programme has been drawn up to assess the future of services within the Trust and people are actively encouraged to have their say.

The proposed changes have been met with some criticism however. Chairman of Cookstown Council Cllr. Trevor Wilson has appealed for all those with a genuine concern in Westlands Residential Home to respond and have their say.

“The home is one of the oldest within the trust and is being under-utilised,” he said. “It provides a valuable service to the community and there is a lot of good work being undertaken by the staff.

“It’s not being used to its full potential and I would appeal to the public that they should make representation to the Trust and highlight the good work and importance of Westlands.

“I simply can’t believe that those people, whom the Trust say wish to stay at home, will be able to do so. At present there are people in residential care who could be at home if a package was available.

“Many older people require 24 hour care.