Minister to intervene over Cottages proposals

Group pictured at Ardnashee School and College on Thursday morning for a meeting about the Cottages Respite Facilities. DER0215MC055
Group pictured at Ardnashee School and College on Thursday morning for a meeting about the Cottages Respite Facilities. DER0215MC055

Health Minister, Jim Wells, will personally intervene in the Western Trust’s decision to review the way in which respite care is provided for children with complex needs at ‘The Cottages’ unit in the Waterside, the Derry Journal understands.

The Derry Journal was granted exclusive access to families of those affected by the Trust’s proposals at a special meeting held at Ardnashee School and College on Thursday afternoon.

The meeting was highly charged and at times very emotional as some parents spoke honestly and openly about the impact the proposals to move some respite care services from Derry to Omagh is having on them.

The Derry Journal put several detailed questions to the Western Trust on Thursday but a spokesperson said the Trust would not be making any further comment at this time until they receive ministerial direction.

“This is terrible what they [the Western Trust] are putting us through,” said concerned parent, Frank Gallagher.

“The stress that this is causing to parents and children is uncalled for and that’s why we need the people of Derry to get behind our campaign to keep respite care for children with complex needs at ‘the Cottages’.”

Mary O’Neill from Carers NI also criticised the Western Trust for the way they had managed the consultation process which finished a few weeks ago.

“From a carers point of view, I do not think the Western Trust has met their obligations. It’s something that we will be looking into very soon,” she said.