Northern Ireland

Western Trust to reorganise elderly care

Elderly image

The Western Health Trust is to reorganise how it provides home care packages to the elderly.

It has just completed a re-tendering exercise for the care contracted from the independent sector.

It insists that the trust will continue to provide around 40% of services, but modernisation will make it more efficient.

Last year around 4,500 people in the western area received a care package in their home.

That means qualified care workers called to the person's house to bathe, feed or provide medication.

However, with people living longer and the demand to be cared for at home increasing, the trust said waiting lists were getting longer.

To address this it completed a re-tendering exercise for the care contracted from the independent sector.

A spokesperson said that would result in additional hours of care being available to those in most need.

The new model will be delivered by teams of staff supporting clients across nine zones.

Under employment law, those staff who are employed in organisations who do not secure contracts, will transfer to those organisations who have been successful.

While the trust said the system would be more efficient, it is not yet clear whether that is because they have had to employ more of the private sector, something the health unions will not be supporting.