Following the Health and Social Care Board's approval for further consultation on proposals for the future of statutory residential homes, the Commissioner for Older People, Claire Keatinge, has acknowledged that advice has been taken on board but that ongoing clear communication must continue.

Proposals for the closure of ten of the nineteen statutory homes, the remodeling of one and the retention of eight homes were approved by the Health and Social Care Board on Tuesday, subject to further consultation by each Trust at a local level. This local consultation will be the next step in a process aimed at ensuring that decisions taken about the closure of statutory residential homes were not just based on cost saving but gave due prominence to the views of those affected.

Speaking about the Board's approval for the next steps in the process on statutory residential home proposals, the Commissioner for Older People Claire Keatinge said;
"I welcome the commitment to continued engagement with older people on the specific proposals at a local level as the next step of this process. It is vital that the views of those most directly affected, including current residents, continue to be given due prominence. I also welcome the ongoing commitment to current residents who will not have to move if they do not wish to do so."

"It is crucial that the next steps in the process are clearly explained to older people and their families, and that they are made aware of what steps they can take if they remain unhappy with any decisions that are made. It is also vital that following these local consultations, older people are kept informed of any outcomes in a timely manner."

"As our ageing population continues to increase, it is essential that government plans and is equipped to deal with a range of future accommodation needs including residential and nursing home needs. Older people, now and in the future, must be assured that appropriate residential care settings are available to those who want or need them."