Social care professionals warn sector on edge of collapse in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland's social care sector is on the verge of collapse, a group of care professionals have warned.
Nursing home and community care provisions in the region have been "stretched to breaking point", according to the Five Nations Care Forum - an alliance of professional associations representing the care sector across the UK and Ireland.
The group has called on all governments across the UK and Ireland to take action "to ensure a sustainable social care sector now and for the future."
While there is concern about social care provisions in other regions, the situation in Northern Ireland has been made even more uncertain due to the political crisis and lack of local government, the group said.
"Nursing home and community care provision in Northern Ireland is stretched to breaking point - and a crisis is imminent," the group warned.
The forum added: "Following a meeting in Scotland, the Five Nations Care Forum ... is calling for remedial action to the severe underfunding of the social care sector.
"People are living longer, often with more complex needs, and demand for care is increasing all the time.
"At the same time, the funding of social care across the five nations remains wholly inadequate.
"This has resulted in serious constraints on the delivery of social care services to individuals who need state support."