SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has welcomed a High Court ruling on the Department of Health’s continuing healthcare policy.
The policy which required people to pay for their own care costs in nursing homes and other social-care settings has been quashed.
Mr McGrath said the policy was unworkable from the outset and called on the department to introduce a policy which allows people to get the best care possible in the right setting.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“The continuing healthcare policy has been an unmitigated mess from the very beginning, I directly raised many concerns about the policy and its failure to properly support people with both the department and the then Health Minister and was shocked to learn at one stage that there was nobody benefiting from the policy.
“It’s totally unfair that people who required care were expected to pay for it if they could be looked after outside of a hospital setting. This policy was initially introduced to support people in need of long-term care, not to drain the savings of many elderly and ill people who had no other option but to pay for care they could not do without.
“When it comes to formulating these policies, we need to see more common sense and compassion from the department. The SDLP raised concerns about the introduction of the single eligibility question as far back as 2017. This situation was avoidable in policy terms and should never have been allowed to happen. I understand that staff are doing their best in difficult circumstances, but concerns were raised and problems identified with continuing healthcare on multiple occasions and it should never have been allowed to reach this stage.”