Consultation is a farce - MLA Allister

North Antrim MLA, Jim Allister, says the consultation on the how, not the why, of residential care home closures will not satisfactorily or fairly address the issues.

The TUV leader said: “The pre-determined reiteration that at least 50% of homes will close, whatever the merits or local needs, further suggests this latest consultation is another farce.

“A consultation supposedly to set criteria for closures, in circumstances where the Minister maintains a ban on new admissions, means homes so starved of residents are easy pickings. In the Northern Trust area there are no new admissions, so how can these homes defend themselves?

“It is only by lifting the embargo on new admissions that a fair and genuine consultation exercise can be conducted. Otherwise, it will continue to be closure by stealth. Little wonder some residents have expressed a renewed sense of betrayal.”

Health chiefs have rejected claims that the new public consultation on the closure of state-run homes is a box ticking exercise.

The Health and Social Care Board wants residents and relatives to help draw up criteria used to determine the future of facilities.

Under Transforming your Care, NHS services will focus on helping elderly people to live in their own homes for as long as possible.

At least 50 per cent of statutory residential homes could close over a five-year period.