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Consultation begins on future of statutory residential care homes


A consultation process on the proposed criteria to be used for assessing statutory residential care homes for older people in the future and an Equality Impact Assessment, have been launched today by the Health and Social Care Board.

This is the first of a two stage consultation process which was announced on 21 August 2013.

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.

The proposed criteria detailed in the consultation document are as follows:

1. Availability and accessibility of alternative services – this is about assessing the suitability of current and proposed service developments or redesign of services to meet individual needs including alternatives to residential care.

2. Quality of Care – assessing the quality of care in each residential care home against standards.

3. Care Trends – this relates to assessing the past and current need for residential care. This includes changing patterns of demand not just for residential care.

4. Best use of public money – assessing whether we are making the best use of funding to provide as much care as we need at a reasonable cost, and making sure that standards of care remain high.

Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Care and Children with the Health and Social Care Board, said:

“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 quality of care and the availability and accessibility of alternative services for older people. 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.

During the consultation period, the Board will seek the views of residents, families, carers, staff, interested bodies and the general public to help inform decisions about these proposals for the future development and delivery of care for our older population.

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 visit www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult.

You can respond to the consultation in a number of ways:

Ø Fill in the form inside the consultation document, detach it, and post it back to us.

Ø Fill in the online form available on: www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult

Ø Download a MSWord or PDF version of the questionnaire from www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult complete it and email or post it back to us.

Ø Contact us and we will send you out a hard copy of the questionnaire.

Ø Email or write to us with your comments.

Responses or requests for further information or alternative formats should be emailed to SRHconsultation@hscni.net or in writing to: TYC Programme Office, Health and Social Care Board, 12-22 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BS or telephone (028) 9055 3790 or Textphone:18001 028 9055 3790.

However you choose to give us your views, we want to hear from you on or before Friday 7 March 2014 at 5.00pm