Representatives from all four political parties from Cookstown District Council recently held two key meetings over the closure threat hanging over the Westlands care home.
In a statement, the Council said their initial meeting was with local and regional UNISON representatives who briefed elected Members regarding the implications of the potential decisions made by the Health Trust/Board on residents and staff.
Council Members then met with Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Care and Children with the Health and Social Care Board, who is now leading on a new process regionally, and who was accompanied by a significant delegation of representatives from the Board, Northern Trust and Local Commissioning Group.
Throughout the discussion, members reiterated their determination that Westland’s Residential Home must be retained as a viable option for residential care within the Cookstown District, and pressed the representatives on the previous consultation and engagement process and its perceived highly negative impact within the local community. Clarification was also sought by Members about the Department’s policy on new admissions to Westlands, any future investment plans for the facility and other services on the site and crucially, about the future wellbeing of both residents and staff.
It was also highlighted by Members that Council’s comprehensive response to the ‘Transforming Your Care’ consultation in January clearly identified a requirement, not only for the retention of Westlands, but for further investment and enhancement of the facility to enable more integrated local provision of health and social care services.
In conjunction with this, Members also stressed that any future consultation on the withdrawal or reduction of services should be clearly based on evidence of the level of need and usage.
Fionnuala McAndrew assured Members that the Board /Trust was seeking to increase the level of engagement and consultation with Council, which would include exploring those opportunities discussed at the meeting as well as Council’s suggestions for the Westlands facility and site.