The Health Minister is one of many local politicians across Northern Ireland who has been getting to grips with the daily delivery run as they help Domestic Care bring community meals to older and vulnerable people in their constituencies amid fears the service could be cut.
Domestic Care is Northern Ireland’s leading provider of community meals, delivering approximately 20,000 meals a week across the Province.
The organisation recently approached politicians from across the spectrum inviting them to accompany their drivers for a morning’s work in one of the four Health Trust areas they operate in.
Operations Director, Liz Ensor explained: “Eligibility for meals in the community is at risk due to efficiency savings imposed by Health and Social Care Trusts. We believe that community meals should be regarded as a front line service.
“It is hoped that by coming out and speaking to the people, our politicians will see the benefits of our service. We meet the nutritional guidelines set out by the Government, help to reduce social isolation and carry out a safe and well check enabling people to stay in their own homes and be independent for as long as possible”
Mr Poots said: “From what I have seen it is clear to me that community meals are a vital service that must be protected. It is the policy of the Department of Health to keep people out of hospital. This is a service that prevents people from needing hospital care, by keeping them healthy and living independently in their own home.
“We should be protecting and encouraging eligibility for Community Meals to support our older and vulnerable people. In many cases it is a lifeline, and the regular contact with a driver is the only contact that they have with another person during the day.”