Concerns over ‘damning’ report

Ann Gamble
Ann Gamble

A Lisburn woman spoke of her concerns at the launch of a new report, by the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, that revealed serious concerns among the elderly in relation to health and social care provision.

Ann Gamble described the report, which represents the views of 700 older people from Northern Ireland, their fears in relation to hospital safety, concerns about home care packages and GP appointments, and anxiety about proposals to introduce prescription charges, as ‘damning.’

Age Sector Platform, the charity responsible for the Pensioners Parliament, described the report as ‘damning’ and says it serves to illustrate that health and social care provision is only worsening, despite ambitious plans for reform.

Ann who sits in the Health Committee of the Parliament said: “The fact that more than one in three older people would not feel safe in hospital if they were very ill is an indictment of the health service here.

“But concerns are not confined to acute care; with three out of four older people describing time allocated for domiciliary care as inadequate, and three out of four finding it harder to get an appointment with their GP compared to five years’ ago.

“These findings should be the basis for decisions made in relation to providing health and social care in future – they represent the voices of older people; the biggest users of the health and social care service here.”

She went onto say, “Worryingly, the majority of older people do not believe decisions made in relation to health and social care are open and transparent.”

“It’s clear the only way trust can be earned back is through consultation with patients and honest communication with the public.”

For more information on the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, visit www.pensionersparliament.org or ring 9031 2089.