A Carrickfergus woman is highlighting concerns among older people in relation to health and social care provision.
A new report by the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament exposes anxiety over hospital safety, home care packages, GP appointments and proposals to introduce prescription charges.
Age Sector Platform, which is responsible for the Pensioners Parliament, described the report as “damning”.
Carrick’s Caroline McKeown, from Age Sector Platform, 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.
The report launch coincided with the hosting of the Pensioners Parliament on Health and Social Care in Belfast. Around 150 older people from across Northern Ireland came together to discuss their concerns, listen to healthcare professionals and question a political panel made up of MLAs.
Caroline added: “Our research is a damning assessment of the current state of our health and social care service. It is clear that change is needed to address the current problems and with an ageing population there is an urgency to ensure these services meet the needs of people as they grow older.”