Lift ban on nursing home admissions: Unison demands

Health Minister Edwin Poots
Health Minister Edwin Poots

A leading health care trade union has urged the Health Minister Edwin Poots to lift any existing bans on admissions to nursing homes after he signalled on Wednesday (April 16) several homes - including Thackeray Place - won’t be closing.

Unison Regional Organiser, Joe McCusker, said: “Unison is very cautious of the Health Minister’s intentions.

“Halting the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) review of residential homes while Health Trusts continue to operate an admissions ban for long-term residential places does not make sense.

“Our concern is that these homes will be deliberately run down to the point where there are no residents left in order to justify closure in the future.”

Mr Poots visited Thackeray Place, Westlands Home in Magherafelt, Pinewood in Ballymena, and Rosedale in Antrim on Wednesday (April 16) to inform residents and staff that their homes would not be closing as part of the HSCB review of residential care homes.

But Mr McCusker continues: “If the Health Minister is serious about keeping NHS Residential Care Homes open, then he must make an official announcement on the future of all the NHS Homes across Northern Ireland and instruct Health Trusts’ to lift their ban on admissions, and open up the homes to our elderly people who require residential care.”

Last year the Sentinel reported how there were 18 bids for private care homes across the North West between 2008 and 2012.