The Health and Social Care Board today published a document setting out the way forward for engaging, consulting and implementing changes to the provision of Statutory Residential Care Homes across Northern Ireland.
The new process will be taken forward in two stages of consultation. In the first stage, the Board will be seeking views on the criteria which should be used to assess where changes will happen and the sequence and timing of when this needs to occur. It is hoped this stage will commence in October 2013 and run until January 2014.
The agreed criteria will then be used by Health and Social Care Trusts to assess their care homes and inform the Board of their future intentions. The Board will examine these proposals thoroughly to ensure that the future care needs of older people can be appropriately met. It is anticipated that this will happen in the first three months of 2014.
Any major changes, including the proposed closure of any home, will require further consultation. This is the second stage of consultation and during this stage the Board will be encouraging and supporting open and honest discussion about any proposed changes.
Leading the new process on behalf of the Board, Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Care and Children explained: “The Board was asked in May by the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Mr Edwin Poots, to develop a regional process, working closely with Trusts, for consulting, engaging and implementing Transforming Your Care in relation to statutory residential care homes.
“The Board acknowledges that proposals announced earlier this year, caused some residents and their families concern about their future care arrangements and how any change might be managed.
“I was asked to review these proposals in order to make sure that future changes will be dealt with sensitively and ensure that the future needs of residents are fully considered.
“I set up a regional group which has met regularly over the past few months to ensure we can move forward in the best possible way. During this process, it was clear to me that a number of statutory residential care homes have been, or were, going through a process of significant change. I have seen examples of how this has been managed in a way that suits residents, their families and staff and I do not want to stop these changes taking place.
“However, there still needs to be clarity about the future role and function of the remaining statutory homes and I intend to start this process in October.” she said.
“This morning I wrote to all residents to let them know about the way forward and all staff were updated on the new process.”
Mrs McAndrew concluded: “No final decisions have been made at this stage, however, the Board firmly believes that our services need to change in line with Transforming Your Care to deliver better care for older people which will enable them to stay at home and remain independent where possible, for as long as possible.
“The 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 working with residents, their families, staff and representatives.”
A copy of the Board’s plan is available at http://www.tycconsultation.hscni.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/HSCB_Statutory_Residential_Homes_Project_Initiation_Document-19082013.pdf