Health Minister Robin Swann has announced a £5 million allocation to assist Northern Ireland’s care home sector with rising energy costs.

Care homes, like the rest of society, have been dealing with sharply rising energy prices.

The £5m funding will be allocated by HSC Trusts on the basis of bed numbers per home.

The Minister said: “I am on record as emphasising the serious challenges that a cost of living crisis will bring to health and social care. It will impact heavily on patients and other service users, as well staff and providers.

“The situation is deeply concerning and will require a coordinated and sustained cross-Departmental response.

“I am pleased to be able to make this announcement today, which will go some way towards helping care homes deal with escalating energy costs.

“We will continue to keep the situation under review in our ongoing engagement with the sector.”

Today’s allocation follows a support package of up to £23m announced in November for domiciliary care and the wider social care sector. That funding is aimed at securing improved rates of pay for staff, helping to increase the domiciliary care and care home workforces.