Unity needed to halt Poots' plan for care homes
THE consultation by Health Minister Edwin Poots on the future of the 56 statutory residential care homes across Northern Ireland should be seen as a partial victory for residents and families.
If Mr Poots had got his way, the closure of 28 care homes, with the loss of 800 places, with further plans to close all 56 care homes over the next five years, would have been forced through with no consultation.
It was residents and their families' strength of opposition, along with widespread public support, that stopped the Executive.
Mr Poots remains unrepentant about implementing wholesale closures.
The purpose of the consultation is to legitimise the Executive's plans to close all health service residential homes for privately run profit-driven homes.
But a campaign to keep all the residential homes open can still be won. It is essential that staff, residents and families, supported by the trade unions, discuss the best way to oppose all closures.