Limavady Borough Council has become embroiled in an embarrassing debacle over their failure to respond to the healthcare reforms recommending care home closures throughout Northern Ireland.
Amid ongoing fears for the future of Thackeray Place residential care home in Limavady, the Sentinel recently revealed how the council had ignored the public consultation into the healthcare reform plan recommending the closure of “at least” half of Northern Ireland’s statutory residential care homes.
Asked why they did not respond to the plans, known as Transforming Your Care, a council spokesperson said there was “no record of ever having received the invite to respond.”
However, the Sentinel has obtained details from the Health and Social Care Board of a letter sent to Limavady Council on October 10, which read, in the first line: “I would like to invite you to participate in the public consultation process for Transforming Your Care.”
The letter was from none other than John Compton, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board and the man who lead the review of health services in Northern Ireland which lead to Transforming Your Care.
Furthermore, Leaflets had been distributed to well over 700,000 houses - as close to every single house in Northern Ireland as could reasonably be expected - detailing the public consultation into Transforming Your Care.
Around £89,000 had been spent by the Health and Social Care Board to promote participation in the consultation. A total of 16 widely publicised public meetings were held across Northern Ireland. A further 26 meetings were held with ‘stakeholders.’ A website which attracted thousands of visitors had been set up specifically to promote the consultation. The media, from the BBC and UTV to local newspapers throughout the province, dedicated sizeable resources to covering Transforming Your Care.
There were 19 district councils across Northern Ireland who submitted their views during the public consultation on Transforming Your Care. Limavady Borough Council said they had no record of any invite when asked why they did not respond.
Furthermore, the Sentinel can today confirm that not only did Limavady Borough Council make no response to Transforming Your Care, it was not even tabled for discussion at any council meeting.
Now that the axe is looming over a residential care home in Limavady, however, the council has expressed their “support” for Thackeray Place despite having not expressed any views on the recommendations to close care homes in Transforming Your Care during the public consultation. The consultation period has now been closed for months and the recommendations in Transforming Your Care have been adopted as policy.
The Sentinel is awaiting a response to a request for information made under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act which, it is hoped, will reveal exact details of who Mr Compton’s letter was sent to at Limavady Borough Council.