Where is the Mandate for Care Homes Non Admissions Policy?

East Antrim MLA and Ulster Unionist health spokesman Roy Beggs Jnr has again questioned the DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots on his admissions policy for long term stays in Residential Care Homes.  A just published answer to a written question posed at Stormont by Mr Beggs reveals that for the financial year 2012/13, there were no permanent admissions to Statutory (NHS Trust) Elderly Residential Homes in the Northern region, whilst at the same time 244 permanent admissions were referred to privately run homes.

Mr Beggs said:

“The Assembly Written Answer shows that the 4 other Health Trusts have been admitting residents to Statutory Residential Homes.  These figures confirm what anecdotally we already knew:  In the Northern Trust area, there is an on-going policy of closing all statutory residential homes by stealth through a non-admissions policy.  For example in my local area of Larne no new residents have been referred to Lisgarel  in the last two years, similarly the Joymount Residential Home in Carrickfergus has been prevented from admitting permanent residents-other than those who have recently transferred from Greenisland House.

Given this background I would have to question, the validity of the Minister’s new round of consultations, organised centrally through the Health and Care Board.  A Support group which I have been working with- Friends of Lisgarel- have been told by the Northern Trust that their non-admissions policy is merely an implementation of the policy of the Department of Health.  In other words it is Minister Poot’s policy.”

Mr Beggs noted that this week Minister Poots has refused an invitation from Larne Borough Council to discuss this issue.

The Ulster Unionist MLA added:
“We have already had a public consultation exercise on the issue of statutory NHS Trust Residential Homes.  In happened in 2009 and elicited an unprecedented amount of public interest and response.  As a result, decisions were taken by the then Health Minister Michael McGimpsey .  In my
area of East Antrim the decision was to retain Lisgarel in Larne, Joymount in Carrickfergus, Clonmore in Newtownabbey and to replace Greenisland House with a supported living development.

Prior to becoming Health Minister, Mr Poots publically opposed the closure of statutory Residential Homes. The question which now arises is this:  What mandate does the Northern Trust and the Minister of Health Edwin Poots have to starve the remaining Trust Residential Homes of referrals and to close them by stealth? He continues to evade and refuse to answer this question on the floor of the Assembly, but it is clear that Mr Poots has no democratic mandate to pursue his U turn policy of closing Statutory Residential Care Homes.”


Copy of written Assembly Q&A

AQW 25950/11-15
Mr Roy Beggs Ulster Unionist Party East Antrim
To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail the number of permanent admissions to (i) private residential care homes; and (ii) statutory residential care homes, broken down by Health and Social Care trust, in each of the last five years.

Answer: The information requested is not held centrally. Information on the number of permanent admissions to residential homes which cater for elderly clients was provided by the five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts and is detailed in the tables below.

Table 1: Permanent Admissions to Private Elderly Residential Homes

HSC Trust Permanent   Admissions
2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Belfast 108 127 121 71 104
Northern 206 244
South   Eastern

– Information could not be obtained

Table 2: Permanent Admissions to Statutory Elderly Residential Homes

HSC Trust Permanent   Admissions
2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Belfast 34 35 26 31 8
Northern 85 67 61 39 0
South   Eastern 67 54 43 44 41
Southern 24 7 22 30 22
Western 28 18 22 23 17


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