Cookstown District Council say they are ‘strongly opposed’ to any changes which would result in the closure of Westlands Residential Home.
In a strongly worded document, endorsed by representatives from all four political parties, Council roundly condemns the set of criteria outlined by the Board as “totally flawed”, highlighting the Trust’s unilateral decision to implement a “no admissions” policy which has inevitably distorted any accurate assessment of the demand for places.
The Council said the Trust are seeking to use ‘ideal standards’ as the benchmark is “disingenuous” as the Trust patently and consistently ignores any requirement to meet similar minimum service benchmarks in other core areas of its front line services. Cookstown District Council Members and Officers met recently with Westlands residents, their families and staff to discuss the proposals for change and hear their views on the potential impact of any Board /Trust decision.
The submission highlights that Mid Ulster has the highest projected population growth rate in NI and as such calls for the Trust to provide a clear and accurate appraisal of the current and future need, rather than simply looking at current levels of ‘supply’.
Council have also called for clarity about Criteria 1 “the availability and accessibility of alternative services”, particularly the “community-based care services” and queries what plans the Trust has to effectively resource this extra provision.
Furthermore, with the Cookstown District having one of the lowest wage levels in NI and fewest public sector job opportunities, Council are recommending the Trust also gives careful consideration to the needs of Westlands staff.