Private sector care homes in Northern Ireland will receive an extra £1.6 million from the country’s Health and Social Care Board, which is battling to create an integrated primary and social care service.
Simon Hamilton, Northern Ireland’s health minister, told BBC’s Good Morning Ulster, that the additional money is intended to provide immediate relief at a time of a funding crisis.
“I am acutely aware of the different challenges they [private operators] face including recruitment,” he said.
Four Seasons Health Care recently announced that it is closing seven care homes in Northern Ireland that it says cannot be run profitably.
Mr Hamilton said that the support package “should bring some stability and confidence to the sector and reassure residents and their families that we are doing all we can to ensure their continued well being”.
Pauline Shepherd, chief executive of Independent Health and Care Providers (IHCP), told the BBC she welcomed the news. “Domiciliary care is nearly in crisis and a number of care homes have had to close,” she said.
“I believe and I hope that it is an acknowledgement that something needs to be done urgently pending a more in-depth and fundamental consideration of what the problems are.”