‘Living hell must end’ – McGreevy

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Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Community, Politics
Health chiefs have been accused of condemning the most vulnerable members of the elderly population and their families to “a living hell” over the way it is continuing to implement admissions to NHS residential care homes. And the leader of the SDLP group on Newry and Mourne Council, Connaire McGreevy has challenged the health authorities to make clear that the decision to close at least 50 per cent of National Health Residential Care Homes was “not part of a behind doors cash deal with elements of the private sector.” “The recent revelation by the BBC that has been a deliberate policy to refuse any new admissions to residential care in order to make the sector unworkable is quite shocking,” McGreevy told Newry Times. “We have had various excuses trotted out by the Southern Trust in trying to defend why since last March it has closed its doors to potential clients. Up to now families have had to reluctantly accept the official line that nothing could be done because of a continuing consultation process. The SDLP Councillor continued, “But now that has been revealed to have been nothing more than a sham exercise, one that continues to make a mockery of care and compassion. It is clear that despite all the promises, people will be dumped out of state care facilities. “They will be forced to live in totally unsuitable conditions, looked after by family members with no proper health training or support. They will, at best, get a few minutes care from over worked and over stressed care staff,” he insisted. “And obviously the only real winners will be the Department and the Trust with having their costs cut, while at the same time the private sector will be able to look forward to a much improved bank balance. “The entire process continues to stink. It makes me very worried that the only objective of the Department is one based on savings and not on service to those that most need help.” McGreevy said that unless those responsible for the overall running of residential care homes reversed Stormont led strategies to block access to state facilities they should be prepared to face legal consequences. “There are many hundreds of elderly people and their families that simply don’t know what is going to happen. But despite claims from the Department of Health and the Southern Trust that a full consultation process will be held with all stakeholders over the ultimate future of NHS residential care the public is right to remain skeptical. McGreevy added, “The Minister and his Stormont officials, along with those in the Trust who are prepared to go against the wishes of the vast majority of our society won’t be allowed to get away with this con job.”
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