Health union plan rally in support of Westlands residential home in Cookstown

Pacemaker Press 3/4/2012    Westland  Care Home in Cookstown Co Tyrone,  as trust care homes in Northern Ireland are due for closure   Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 3/4/2012 Westland Care Home in Cookstown Co Tyrone, as trust care homes in Northern Ireland are due for closure Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A health union is calling on people in the Cookstown area to come out in “big numbers” to show their support for the town’s Westlands residential home.

The rally is planned by UNISON Northern Health Branch as part of a Day of Action across the Trust’s area this Saturday.

Westlands is one of a number of care homes under threat in the Trust area and was previously given a reprieve from closure only for uncertainty over its future to emerge again a few months ago.

A new phase of the consultation process has begun and Unison branch secretary, Stephanie Greenwood is urging the general public to take action now if they care about the elderly.

She said the union has fundamental and serious concerns about the Trust’s criteria in relation to care trends and believe it could not be applied in a fair or balanced manner.

“We care strongly and are extremely worried that Westlands is set for closure,” she continued.

“I as a staff representative for the Northern Trust know that the care and professionalism that the staff in this home show on a daily basis is world class. The residents in Westlands were happy within their home, but for some of them they have now endured a process which has created fear, worry and apprehension.”

Local Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend says she shares the frustration with how such a closure could affect the availability of care in the Mid-Ulster area.

“The Health Minister, Simon Hamilton turned down my request to meet to discuss these valid concerns, including how long Westlands will be able to remain a home for those residents who live there currently, should the home close,” said Mrs Overend.

Ms Greenwood said Saturday’s protest will take place outside Westlands at 5.30pm and called for local people to make their voice heard.