Dip in nursing and residential care packages in Derry sparks concern

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The number of residential and nursing care packages in the Western Trust has fallen over the past several years prompting one local councillor to express concern over the pressures faced by the health and social care sector.

New data released by the Department of Health (DoH) have indicated there were declines in the number of care packages in effect in the wider Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) between 2015 and 2017.

Residential care packages, for example, fell by 34, from 527 at the end of September 2015, to 493 at the end of September 2017.

Nursing care packages, meanwhile, fell by 31, from 1,370 in September 2015, to 1,339 in September 2017.

Sinn Féin’s local health spokesperson, Councillor Patricia Logue, reacting to the new figures that have been freshly-released by DoH, has expressed her concern that many families are clearly still struggling to secure appropriate care packages for their loved ones.

She said: “The statistics are another reminder that our social care sector faces great pressures in being able to offer and deliver packages of care in the community.

“Issues with shortages of staff and high turnover rates can leave a health trust or provider struggling to cope.”

The Sinn Féin Councillor for the Moor District Electoral Area (DEA) said difficulties in securing suitable care packages can be a source of real anxiety for the people she represented.

She said it was something she knew came up frequently at constituency clinics across the city and district.

“I know it can be often quite difficult to get care packages regardless of what trust area someone finds themselves in,” she remarked.

“Our constituency offices across the north are constantly helping people to secure the best care package they can,” added Colr. Logue.

The party’s local health spokesperson said she understood the process of securing the right packages for the right people could be complicated.

“It is also important to note that not all care packages can be the same.

“Often they can be complex and challenging but they can be a great source of support for families and carers struggling to cope to look after their loved ones,” she said.

During the same two year period the number of residential care packages in the North as a whole reduced by 137 from 3,527 to 3,493.

Equally, the number of nursing care packages in effect fell by 245 from 8,674 to 8,429 over the same two years.