A health union has claimed the ongoing consultation on the proposed closure of the Rectory Field and William Street care homes is being viewed as a mere box-ticking excercise by the Western Trust and that the health authority has already earmarked the cityside facility for alternative use.
Unison Regional Organiser Joe McCusker claims the Western Trust is considering shifting the Foyle Day Centre provision from Academy Road to William Street.
He said this suggests the current public consultation on the closure proposals is just a cosmetic exercise.
Mr McCusker said Unison has obtained a paper from the Trust entitled ‘Reform of Older People’s Day Care Services,’ dated July 2015, where the Trust has made the recommendation - that as part of its review of Day Care Services - for Foyleview Day Centre services to move to William Street Residential Care Home.
“This provides strong evidence that the Western Trust have a predetermined outcome on the Residential Care Homes consultation – which is to close William Street Home.
“It makes a complete mockery of the current public consultation exercise on the closure of the two Residential Homes in Derry and shows the Trust’s disregard for real and meaningful consultation with the public.”
Mr McCusker continued: “The Western Trust now needs to come clean that they intend to close NHS Residential Care Homes in Derry regardless of the views of the people of Derry and the wider public.”
Unison made the claim after the Trust’s Board only gave approval on Thursday of last week for the Trust to go out to public consultation on the proposals to close William Street and Rectory Field.
Launching the consultation on Friday, August 7, Elaine Way, Western Trust Chief Executive, commented: “This consultation is part of a long term piece of work which is necessary to ensure that we have the right services in place to meet the needs of older people in the Western Trust area both now and in the future.
“I am conscious that this will be an anxious and unsettling time for our current residents and their families, and so I would like to reassure you that you will be able to live in your current home for as long as you may wish as long as it continues to safely meet your needs.
“The Trust is keen to hear and consider carefully all views on our proposed changes to the provision of statutory residential care for older people in the Trust. We would encourage everyone to get their responses in as soon as possible and contribute their views.”
The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close at 4pm on Friday, October 30 2015. The proposal has been equality screened and the Trust is now inviting the public and interested parties to have their say.
The proposals are that Rectory Field and William Street Statutory Residential Care Homes should cease admissions and as a result these Homes will eventually close. The Homes will continue to function for as long as they can safely meet the needs of current residents.
Thackeray Place and Greenfield Statutory Residential Care Homes will remain open and continue to accept admissions due to the current lack of alternative provision at present.
Information on the proposals and on how to respond can be downloaded from the Western Trust’s website www.westerntrust.hscni.net by clicking on ‘Involving You’ and ‘Consultations’. Responses can be completed and returned via e-mail or post by 4pm on Friday, October 30, 2015 to: Bernie McCafferty, Strategic Change and Performance Manager, Primary Care and Older People’s Services, Spruce Villa, Gransha Park, Londonderry, Tel: (028) 71863912, E-mail: Bernie.firstname.lastname@example.org