A NEW campaign group is due to hold a rally at Stormont later on Monday against the planned closure of public residential care homes across Northern Ireland.
Friends of Care Homes, a delegation of residents and relatives from the homes targeted for closure, along with staff from the care homes and UNISON representatives, will meet with MLAs in the Assembly’s Senate Chamber to give their views on the proposed home closures.
MLAs will hear speeches from care home residents and their families, care home staff and UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown.
Unison Regional Organiser, Joe McCusker, explained: “The rally is a culmination of work that Unison undertook with residents and staff of the homes targeted for closure, relatives of residents, and local communities.
“Over the past two months a number of public meetings were held across Northern Ireland. Unison also spoke at various local council meetings.
“These meetings were well attended by people from local communities and their MLAs, and there was overwhelming support to keep residential care homes within the NHS and stop the Health Minister’s plans for closure.”
He added: “On Monday, we will be seeking a pledge from MLAs to stand with us in our opposition to NHS residential care home closures and to send a clear message to the Heath Minister that he needs to reverse his policy of closing the homes.”
Under Transforming Your Care around half of residential homes in Northern Ireland were to close in a five-year period.
In May Minister Poots ordered trusts to drop their proposed closures- some were considering closing all their resident care homes.
He said a new process which places “the principle of sensitivity to the needs and wishes of older people” at its core should begin instead.