Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the news that the consultation on the future of the Cottages facility in the Waterside was extended over the Christmas period and those users of the facility and staff will know the outcome of that in early January.
The chair of the Assemblys Health committee said
“In recent weeks since I first highlighted concerns over the plans to reduce services at ‘The Cottage I have raised it directly with the Minister Jim Wells, in the Assembly. And I have also met with officials from the Western Trust who told me these proposals would only achieve savings of up to £40,000, yet the value of this service far excels that figure.
The proposals have caused a great deal of concern in the city, particularly among parents of children who use this valuable and much-needed facility.
I called on the minister to halt the plans to reduce the service at ‘The Cottages.
I have now received correspondence from the Western Trust to say the staff consultation was extended right up until Christmas Eve and that they will consider any responses received over the next week or so.
They have also told me that they hope to advise staff and families of the way forward in and around the 2nd week in January 2015 .
We need to ensure that any of these proposals coming forward are fully impact assessed – I do not believe that this proposal was subject to assessment as to make sure those who are most vulnerable are not negatively impacted on.
We saw a similar approach in the Belfast Trust over the Christmas period when they were forced to reverse a decision to remove home care from hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people.