Health Minister should ‘halt’ on Derry respite unit

The Cottages Respite Care Unit, Dungiven Road, Derry. DER4914MC059
The Cottages Respite Care Unit, Dungiven Road, Derry. DER4914MC059

Health Minister, Jim Wells, should call a “halt” on the proposal put forward to change the way in which a Derry based children’s respite unit functions, according to Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, Maeve McLaughlin.

Ms. McLaughlin, who is Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee in Stormont, met with officials from the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) last Thursday. Ms. McLaughlin claims that the savings to be made by the proposal pale into insignificance when measured against the experiences of the families affected.

The facility, which is based just off the Dungiven Road, on Shepherd’s Way is known locally as ‘The Cottages’.

The chair of the Assembly health committee said;

“I challenged the health minister, Jim Wells, in the Assembly over the plans to reduce services at The Cottages,” explained Ms. McLaughlin.

“The proposal has caused a great deal of concern in the city, particularly among parents of children who use this valuable and much-needed facility.

“I called on the minister to halt the plans to reduce the service at The Cottages.”

The Foyle MLA went on to report that Minister Wells conveyed his intention to take a “personal interest” in ‘The Cottages’ and said that she will continue to lobby the decision makers to “abandon plans” to

“I met with officials from the WHSCT last week who told me these proposals would only achieve savings of up to £40,000, yet the value of this service far excels that figure.

“I was encouraged by the fact the Minister said he intends to take a personal interest in this matter and that the ongoing consultation has indicated a high level of satisfaction with the facilities at The Cottages.

“I will continue to lobby the minister and the Trust to abandon plans for any reduction in the service,” added Ms. McLaughlin.