Belfast Telegraph

Adult care concerns revealed in report

BY VICTORIA O'HARA

There is "clear confusion" about responsibilities within the adult care and support system in Northern Ireland and a level of public mistrust of the motives of Government when it comes to reform, a consultation has revealed.

The findings were published as part of the latest stage of the Who Cares? The Future of Adult Care and Support in Northern Ireland consultation, which is aimed at reforming the provision and funding of adult care and support services.

Following a six-month consultation, the publication by the Department of Health and Social Services showed that 81% said they did not think the current system was fair.

It also revealed the majority of people in Northern Ireland are "unhappy" with the current balance of responsibility for care and support between government, people who use services, and communities and carers.

Confusion also existed over what care and support services were available for free.

When asked if they were aware of which services were free of charge, and which they were expected to pay for, 63% said 'no'.

It also showed 66% thought it was unfair that some care and support services carried no charge while others required service users to contribute to the cost.

Other issues raised included:

* The need to focus more on preventative services.

* The need to promote independence.

* Concerns over the current arrangements for paying for residential and nursing home care.

Overall, 55% of people said they agreed the right areas of reform had been identified.

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