West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Sinn Féin seeking concrete assurances about respite care provision at Beltany House and Shepards Way

Published: 23 August, 2011

Sinn Féin seeking concrete assurances about respite care provision at Beltany House and Shepards Way
West Tyrone MLA Michaela Boyle said,
"I have been contacted by families/carers of adult disabled learners who are deeply concerned, having heard from different sources, that plans are afoot to close both facilities and replace residential care with a model of in-home respite and other alternatives which are no substitute for the much-needed short-term breaks that this residential care provides for the client and the family caregiver.
"WHSCT Chief Executive Elaine Way responded to a letter I wrote seeking clarification on this issue by saying that there are no plans to close either facility. She also said that the Trust had recently opened a new children's respite facility in Omagh and that this had led to a small increase in respite services available for adults at Beltany House.
"However, she did confirm that the Trust would be engaging in a review of its adult learning disability services in the coming months saying that the purpose of the Review was to, "ensure equity of access and to identify new ways of working to address the demand for respite in the area" before going on to state that "there is clearly a need to ensure that respite is flexible and the Trust would seek to offer a range of respite options."
"These qualifying caveats have added to fears among families and carers that the Trust is indeed seeking to move away from the residential care model and cast continuing doubt to future of Beltany House.
"The Trust says that it will be fully engaging with families, staff and trade unions as part of this review but as of yet, none of the families have received a communication in this regard.
"Further to this response I have once again written to Elaine Way seeking asking for her to facilitate a meeting with myself and MLA colleagues Pat Doherty and Barry Mc Elduff at which we will be seeking concrete assurances about the future of residential respite provision at Beltany House and Shepards Way and also to ensure that there is a 'genuine' consultation with all the relevant stakeholders as part of the pending Review." ENDS
Notes to editors:
· While there is supposed to be an entitlement to 8 Weeks Respite Care, most clients/carers are lucky to secure 2-3 weeks respite care per year.
· In terms of Beltany House alone up to 50 families/carers would be affected.