Criticism of very ‘weak response’ to care home recommendations

THE Northern Health and Social Services Counci’s response to recommendations for the future of elderly care has been labelled “weak” by a Carrick representative.

Councillor Jim Brown was speaking after the health watchdog body met last week to formalise its response to the 16-week consultation.

The consultation was carried out by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. Initially, five residential homes, including Greenisland House, at Shore Road, had been earmarked by the Trust for “potential closure”. The Trust has since signalled that these will be replaced.

The consultation period ended on Friday.The Trust has agreed to meet again with anxious relatives at Greenisland House to discuss proposals to be submitted to Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.Carrick Council has already passed a vote of no confidence in the Trust.

And East Antrim’s three Borough Councils have refused to discuss the issue further with the Trust until it reviews its recommendations.These also include the closure of the accident and emergency department at Whiteabbey Hospital and Broadways Workshop at Abbotts Cross in Newtownabbey which has 18 clients from the Carrick Borough.

Speaking after last Wednesday’s meeting of the Health Council, Councillor Brown said: “The Health Council must unequivocally make an impact over the residential issue.”

Instead, Mr. Brown has claimed that it has “not really challenged the Trust”.

“We have left ourselves in a position where we were not prepared to exercise what muscle we have. We have given a very weak response which is my frustration. The good thing is that it is not dependent on the response of the Health Council.

“The flawed arguments of the Trust need to be exposed in the full glare of publicity. These are short-sighted and one-sided.”