Belfast Telegraph

Family of Northern Ireland pensioner asked to organise own care package

The family of a Co Down pensioner has been asked to help organise their own care package.

The BBC reports 78-year-old George Stewart suffered a brain haemorrhage at the start of this year.

His family have been told by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust it would be reimbursed and the move was being taken to deal with insufficient staffing.

Speaking about organising care, Mr Stewart's family said they did not feel qualified to deal with the management of workers from a private company.

Mr Stewart's family said he had recovered to the point of wanting to return home, but had to remain in a care home for people with dementia due to difficulties around organising home care.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Stewart's son Mark said: "He's made a remarkable recovery and he is well enough to go home.

"He doesn't need to be in a secure unit, but he's there because there isn't a suitable care package for him."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Belfast Trust said it "always works towards supporting people in their own home" and that it was "a source of real distress that this is not possible because of a lack of care workers".

"The availability of staff on the ground is insufficient to meet the demand of an aging and increasingly frail population, a situation which is reflected across the UK," a spokesperson said.

"We acknowledge that this shortfall needs to be addressed and are working closely with all the relevant agencies to establish a way forward."

"We continue to work towards this patient receiving the best possible support in his own home as soon as is possible," they added.

The Belfast Trust also said a review on the domicillary care workforce is being prepared by the Department of Health and initial findings had shown a shortfall in the workforce supply chain.

A number of recommendations had been made about how to improve this.

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