Consultation on care homes ends this week

Skeagh House campaigners are being reminded there are only two days left to respond to the Health Board consultation on the future of care homes.

The Health and Social Care Board is encouraging the public to respond to the consultation on the proposed criteria to be used for assessing statutory residential care homes for older people in the future.

The current consultation ends on Friday (March 7).

The consultation document entitled, ‘Making Choices: Meeting the current and future accommodation needs of older people’ outlines four criteria to be used as the basis for assessing the future role and function of statutory residential care homes across Northern Ireland. The criteria are designed to be used by Health and Social Care Trusts to assist decision making about the role of statutory residential care homes in the context of planning suitable services for older people in the future.

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Urging everyone to get involved and have their views considered, Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Care and Children with the Health and Social Care Board, said: “I would urge everyone with an interest in the future of statutory residential care homes to respond to the current consultation.

“The Board remains committed to the vision set out in Transforming Your Care which aims to provide people with support, choices and dignity as they grow older.

“This desire to improve services for older people is the single most important reason for wanting to have these discussions and why I believe that positive changes can happen by consulting with residents, their families, staff and representatives.

“The Board’s proposed criteria place great importance on the availability and accessibility of alternative services for older people and quality of care.

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“Through this consultation I am sharing the proposed criteria with as wide an audience as possible.

“This is because I wish to know how relevant and useful you feel the proposed criteria will be. I would also welcome other suggestions about our future approach to providing services for older people. This issue is important to many people. I want a meaningful dialogue with the public that involves discussion, debate and listening to opinions. So I would like to hear your views: they are very important to us,” she said.

Mrs McAndrew concluded: “I want to reassure everyone that we will carefully consider their views which will guide our approach and help us to make better decisions for the future.

“No final decisions will be made about any individual home until both stages of consultation have been completed. The second stage is expected to commence in Autumn 2014.”

To view the consultation document and respond, visit