Health Chief Quizzed Over Nursing Homes

THE Northern Health and Social Trust has been asked to name the residential nursing homes which will be closed as part of a spending review.

The Trust’s proposal to shut five of its 11 properties was due to come under scrutiny at yesterday’s (Wednesday) meeting of the Northern Health and Social Services Council in Ballymena.

Councillor Jim Brown, a Carrick representative on the watchdog body, is demanding answers to queries over the future of this provision locally.

Chief Executive Norma Evans was expected to be asked to reveal which residential nursing properies in the northern region will be axed. There are two in the Borough – Joymount House and Greenisland House.

It is understood that the sum of £3.1 million would be needed to upgrade all 11 facilities.

Mr Brown was also planning to ask for the running costs and cost of upgrading five affected properties and query if the Trust would benefit financially from the sale of land on which the properties are situated.

Furthermore, the Kilroot councillor was proposing to seek the cost of out-sourcing existing residents’ places elsewhere and raise the issue of staffing and cost of potential redundancies.

The Trust has insisted that no decision has been made yet in relation to the future of its residential homes ahead of the completion of a public consultation exercise.

It has indicated that whilst its homes provide “excellent care”, residents would prefer to live at home with the Trust providing support for as long as possible.

However, the Trust has also stated that “most of the residential homes in the Northern Health and Social Trust were built in the 1960s and 1970s and do not offer modern standards of accommodation for residents or staff”.