Sinn Féin councillor Cara McShane has expressed serious concern over the provision of domiciliary care in the Ballycastle area after one of the main providers pulled out of the town giving 24 hours notice late on Thursday.
Cllr Cara McShane said: “Up to thirty elderly and vulnerable people have been left to find alternative home care provision in Ballycastle following the withdrawal of domiciliary care services by a provider who cited that it was no longer viable to continue the service, with provision ending at 6pm this evening.
“This is appalling and unacceptable. A company which is meant to have the elderly and vulnerable at the heart of everything they do, have given 24 hours to allow people to find an alternative home care service.
“First and foremost my concerns are with those people who have been impacted immediately by this announcement. Many elderly people who live on their own are absolutely dependent on the daily home visits for essential personal and home care.
“It seems absurd in 2015 that a company contracted by the Health Trust and paid for by the public purse, can simply walk away with as little as 24 hours notice, leaving those who are most vulnerable in our community to their mercy.
“While the company have vowed to continue their service in the Glens, I have no confidence that this would be the case in the medium to long term.
“While I have no complaints about the standard of care that was provided, I have received many concerns by constituents recently in relation to the reliability of this particular company. On a number of occasions people have had no care visits, with one elderly person recording over 40 missed scheduled home care visits.
“While the Northern Health Trust have been left today to find alternative provision under pressured circumstances to fill the gap now and over the weekend and coming days, I will be raising further the issues which have been brought to my attention.
“It is imperative that we all learn lessons from this experience. Companies contracted for such work must have a much longer notice time included within their contracts as well as stronger, increased transparency and more robust accountability mechanisms to ensure first-class reliable health care provision.”