‘Profit before patient’ fears for future of five local care homes
SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley MLA has said the announcement that the Southern Trust are set to close five residential care homes further fuels the SDLP’s long held suspicion that the Health Minister is intent on ‘destroying the ethos’ of the NHS by replacing it with stealth privatisation.
Speaking to Newry Times, Bradley said, “The announcement by the Northern Trust yesterday, as well as today’s announcement confirming the intent to close more residential care homes, has created chaos and confusion amongst residents and their families, who have been left without answers as to what the future holds for their loved ones.
“People are rightly angry and frustrated at the Minister’s ruthless approach where it appears that some of the most vulnerable people in our society are being let down as a result of his uncompromising determination to privatise the very institution which we have proudly boasted as our own for so many years.
“Just look at Cloughreagh in Bessbrook, it is a vital service in the Newry and greater South Armagh area and serves the most vulnerable in our society.
“The Trust has suspended admissions to Cloughreagh in advance of the proposed public consultation, pre-empting the consultation and effectively closing it due to lack of admissions. This is a done deal and makes a mockery of any consultation.
Bradley added, “I am reiterating my call to the Minister to make a firm commitment to bring forward legislation to protect the health and social care system from privatisation.
“I have warned him of the dangers of effectively mortgaging our health service to private, profit-driven organisations who are motivated by money making. By privatising the system, the Minister is allowing profit to replace patient as the focus in the health service, and destroying an institution which has always put the patient first.”
Bradley’s party colleague, SDLP MLA for South Down Karen McKevitt echoed his sentiments. She described the proposal as ‘very distressing news’ for the elderly community and their family.
McKevitt stated, “The major changes to the care of our elderly is the implementation of recommendations made in the Compton report where it is suggested that elderly people should be cared for in their own home.
“While the idea of the Trust making provisions to enable elderly people to reside in their own home is one that carries merit, for those who already reside in a nursing home the idea is one that is very daunting and distressing.
“I am deeply concerned that the upset caused by relocation will severely impact on our most vulnerable people.To create such upheaval in their lives is senseless.
McKevitt added, “The proposal to close five nursing homes in the Southern Trust will go out for consultation and it is important that as many people as possible participate in the consultation process to make their views and concerns heard.”
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