“The role of good social care in making our health service fit for purpose is far too often underestimated. Unlike other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland has an integrated health and care system, but isn’t realising the full advantages. Huge resources are squandered through patients, already discharged by their consultant, being forced to stay on in much-needed hospital beds awaiting confirmation of community care arrangements. We are proposing a powerful new unit to minimise delayed transfers from hospital and the consequent bed days lost, that would be driven from the Department and operating cross-system and across Northern Ireland.
Concerted action is necessary to strengthen our domiciliary and social care workforce, making it a more attractive profession by improving working conditions, establishing clear career pathways and providing support for staff. Professional development and training should be universal, with pay and progression linked to skills, experience and qualifications.
The DUP will legislate for a fair, sustainable model for adult social care, including a cost cap to ensure fairness and prevent an unacceptable burden falling on individuals and families. We will implement the Transforming your Care recommendation for a policy review to determine the potential benefits of independent price regulation within the care sector. Whilst others have nothing to offer other than taking Northern Ireland down a road of division and uncertainty, the DUP is focused on the issues that matter to all of us.
We have been pressing the Health Minister to permit care home operators in Northern Ireland to reclaim VAT to the same extent as other parts of the UK through the updating of Health Trust contracts, making additional resources available to reinvest back into our care home network. We will ensure this is taken forward under a new Minister.
We support anticipatory care planning and regular multidisciplinary reviews for all care home residents to monitor needs, spot problems and allow intervention at the earliest possible stage."