Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Rally opposes care home closures

Unison representatives are set to speak at a rally at Stormont opposing the closure of NHS residential care homes

A rally opposing the closure of NHS residential care homes is to be held at Stormont.

The campaign group, Friends of Care Homes, was established to lobby against any cuts.

As part of a health policy on reforming how care is delivered, half of homes were due to close although some trusts which deliver services announced they would close all their centres.

Unison trade union regional organiser Joe McCusker said: "We will be seeking a pledge from MLAs to stand with us in our opposition to NHS residential care home closures and to send a clear message to the heath minister that he needs to reverse his policy of closing the homes."

Minister Edwin Poots has told representatives of all the Northern Ireland health trusts to drop their closure policy and said that the process would be centralised at a regional level. He said it was "unacceptable" older people were suffering distress over the proposals to close homes.

Monday's rally will march to Parliament Buildings at Stormont at noon. At 1pm a delegation of residents and relatives from the homes which the union claimed had been targeted for closure, along with staff from the care homes and Unison representatives, will meet MLAs at the Assembly to give their views on the proposed closures.

Legislators will hear speeches from care home residents and their families, care home staff, and Unison regional secretary Patricia McKeown.

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