Families protest over closure bid

Rectory Field Care Home resident Kathleen Blackwood protesting against the closure of the home on Limavady Road with her daughter Adeline Elliot. (1005PG03)

Rectory Field Care Home resident Kathleen Blackwood protesting against the closure of the home on Limavady Road with her daughter Adeline Elliot. (1005PG03)

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The campaign to save Derry’s care homes has continued this week with elderly residents of the Waterside’s Rectory Field taking to the street to call not only for their home to be saved but for the resignation of Health Minister Edwin Poots.

Residents, staff and family members held a protest outside the home on the Limavady Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Residents, including wheelchair bound Kathleen Blackwood, held placards asking that their home be saved from the consultation process which could see all NHS funded care homes in the North West closed and residents moved into private care facilities.

Politically, local representatives have continued to put pressure on the Health Minister over his privatisation plans which fall in under the Transforming Your Care consultation.

Sinn Fein MLA Maeve McLaughlin said the Health Minister must ensure that the needs and well-being of those affected are paramount prior to any further implementation of Transforming Your Care.

“The fear and distress caused by the care homes fiasco must not be repeated and the minister must ensure such a mess does not happen again and that any confusion between his department and the Health Trusts are, unlike this time, cleared up immediately.

“He needs to ensure that that the needs and well-being of those affected are paramount prior to any further implementation of Transforming Your Care.

“Transforming Your Care is being introduced to make our health system better and bringing that care into the community. The mess surrounding the care homes announcements plainly shows that the minister has taken his eye off the ball and that is unacceptable.”

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan also voiced his concerns about the impact of the Transforming Your Care policy, both in relation to the care homes and other health and social care policies. The SDLP have been arguing for some-time that privatisation of aspects of our health and social care services will directly undermine the values of NHS which provides healthcare free at the point of delivery.

“The NHS is the envy of healthcare systems across the world and must be protected from a privatisation agenda which undermines its very ethos.”