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“Older people must be the most important consideration”

14 May, 2013

"Older people must be the most important consideration"- The Commissioner for Older People"

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge, today met with the Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board, John Compton, and Director of Social Care and Children's Services, Fionnuala McAndrew. Representatives of all the Health and Social Care Trusts also met the Commissioner at a separate meeting.

This comes following a number of concerns raised about the proposed closures of statutory residential care homes in Northern Ireland.

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge said, "I have now met with Minister Poots, the Health and Social Care Board, Health and Social Care Trusts and the Health Committee regarding the proposals for closure of some statutory residential care homes. The discussions have been very productive and I have been reassured that all groups are committed to the delivery of excellence in health and social care services for older people.

"Planning for future residential care needs will be led through each Health and Social Trust who knows local need. This will be done in line with ministerial policy to reduce overall levels of residential care and invest more into community support and specialist housing. Regional guidance on best practice regarding how consultation should be carried out is currently being developed by the Health and Social Care Board."

The Commissioner continued, "Older people must be at the heart of all decisions made and I will use my legal powers and responsibilities to ensure that this happens. I will continue to advise the Minister and the Health Committee on implementation and meet regularly with the Trusts and Health and Social Care Board, so that I am certain that the interests of older people are at the heart of modernising services and support."