Celebrating 25 years

IHCP celebrates 25 years representing our members

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Rosemary tells us the history of IHCP – In 1989 a group of Nursing Home owners came together to form an association called the Care Homes association to represent their views and establish a platform on which they as a group would communicate with the then Minister of Health and Health Trusts.
After several meetings in different areas of the country a committee was formed and it was agreed to meet on a regular basis in the Clonavin Hotel, Whiteabbey. The original chair was Rosemary Strange a nursing home owner from Carrickfergus.

Nursing Homes in those days was a cottage industry which resulted from Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Prime Minister taking all geriatric nursing care out of the acute hospital setting and relocating it to community settings. Subsequently the Nursing Home were mainly set up and run by professional nurses who had been employed in the National Health Service. They operated under the 1984 Homes Act in England.

Relevant legislation in Northern Ireland was adopted in the early 90’s with the establishment of the Registration and Inspection units, who were seen to be presenting difficulties for many owners. This resulted in a decision to join an established group of Nursing Home owners in Birmingham called the Registered Nursing Homes Association chaired by Professor Paddy Carr.

Rosemary Strange and Rosemary Armstrong represented N.I. and travelled regularly to attend meetings and bring forward issues for discussion. Professor Carr came to Belfast to meet with the Minister of Health and senior civil servants accompanied by the local nursing home representatives. It was not considered a satisfactory meeting as Professor Carr related more to the 1984 Homes Act England and or did not understand the Integrated Service of Health and Social Care that we provide in N.I.

It was agreed by the committee that we would leave Birmingham amicably and form our own association in N.I.
It was a stressful time because several of the Nursing Home owners wanted a confrontational committee especially around the activities of the Registration and Inspection units and the emerging number of residential homes had no voice.
Eventually the registered homes association was formed which included a small number of residential home owners who were determined to present a united front in representing the nursing and residential care providers when they met with the Minister of Health, senior civil servants and Trusts. An established pattern emerged and in 1984 John Richardson then Chief Executive of the Belfast Trust became the chair of the Association and the name was changed to the Independent Health and Care Providers…..IHCP.

John remained in post for about 2 years and was subsequently replaced by Hugh Mills and now presently by Pauline Shepherd.


Rosemary Armstrong

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