People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,
“Those with a responsibility for care homes must be held to account. To put it bluntly, many vulnerable residents and workers in care homes have been abandoned.
It increasingly appears to be the case that the Stormont Executive followed the disastrous Tory policy of downgrading the importance of protecting care homes. This is a decision that makes absolutely no sense to most people.
There is no doubt the failure to properly shield loved one’s in care homes has resulted in unnecessary deaths and caused immense worry for residents, families and workers. Many family members are in despair. Workers have been forced to make desperate appeals for PPE.
Derry and Strabane Councillors agreed to support People Before Profit’s proposal to request an urgent meeting with Western Trust and RQIA officials to discuss the care homes crisis. The Western Trust and the RQIA have questions to answer on the provision of PPE, testing, the lack of staffing, sick pay and inspections – but so too do employers and the Stormont Executive.
It’s was our opinion prior to the pandemic that the private care home model wasn’t fit for purpose. There’s been unscrupulous attempts to silence and intimidate those of us who have raised the concerns of families, advocate groups, workers and trade unions.
It’s now clear to many more people that all aspects of social care need to be brought back within the health service and all workers should have the unobstructed right to trade union representation. This will raise standards for all residents, establish basic terms and conditions for workers and create proper mechanisms of accountability. Social care should not be a site for profiteering and cutting corners to do so.
We want to urge the Western Trust and the RQIA to agree to meet with the Council as soon as possible.”