Care Home Closures

Part of Question for Urgent Oral Answer — Health, Social Services and Public Safety – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 pm on 30th November 2015.

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Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP 3:45 pm, 30th November 2015

I have not got that figure to hand, but I will provide it to the Member and copy it to other Members. I am aware that the independent sector, principally Four Seasons itself, as one would expect, has been making all sorts of suggestions about the suitability of the tariff. We have looked at and compared the tariff to other local authorities elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and it compares favourably. I am not saying that it is the highest or that others do not pay more in some cases, but what we pay compares favourably to what is paid by local authorities across the water. Independent sector care providers may make some suggestions about the level of the tariff and the impact that that is having. I do not think that we should take what they are saying at face value. That is why I have asked for a piece of work to be done to review the state of the whole sector in Northern Ireland with the impact of the range of challenges that they are facing, whether that is around the national living wage, the availability of nurses or indeed the payments that are made to them by government. What I am doing is getting that overall snapshot and picture of where the sector is and how stable or otherwise the market currently is, not a review of the tariff itself.