16 Aug 2022

County Derry MLA's concern at sudden withdrawal of care packages

Staff shortages had caused a temporary withdrawal of some packages in the area.

County Derry MLA's concern at sudden withdrawal of care packages

A local representative has expressed concern after news of temporary withdrawal of domicillary care packages in County Derry.

Sinn Féin assembly member Emma Sheerin has reiterated the worry, stress and anxiety experienced by a number of families in the Ballinascreen and Maghera areas over the weekend.

The Mid Ulster MLA was told on Friday afternoon that the package of care being delivered to a loved one was being withdrawn temporarily, without clarity on when resumption would occur.

“I got a flurry of phonecalls from a number of families on Friday evening in what could only be described as pure panic,” she said.

“They had received calls to say that their current care package was being withdrawn due to extenuating circumstances, and were not told when it would go back to normal.

'This left families in an awful position, trying to rearrange plans and work, having to try and cover these care visits themselves at really short notice.

“After some contact with the trust, I found that this had arisen because of an issue with resourcing, and that local managers were working around the clock to cover visits.

“I have been on the record on numerous occasions about the delivery of care packages in the south Derry area, particularly in the more rural parts.

“Whilst the trust assures me that this area has the highest service provision of anywhere in the Northern Trust, I know of a number of families who have waited months to receive the full package as assessed as necessary for loved ones, and the resulting burden and strain that this places on the entire family circle.

“I have to at this point acknowledge my sincere thanks to the local management in the Magherafelt office who are constantly raising this, who respond to the requests for care packages with urgency and diligence, and who are doing an impossible job trying to place a limited workforce on a complex logistical map.

“Domiciliary care workers do an incredible job all year round, and we have really seen their worth during this pandemic, when they have been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19.

“A tough and demanding role, both mentally and physically, many care workers end up becoming part of a family, forming close bonds with their patients and going above and beyond on a daily basis.

“I am raising this issue with the health minister and I want to see our health department properly acknowledging the role of care workers to ensure that more enter the work force and our rural dwellers receive the care that they deserve when they need it at home.”

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