People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said: “Top-up fees charged by too many private care homes are in our opinion illegal, unjust and unaffordable.
“Since being contacted by families struggling to pay these exorbitant fees and by campaigners attempting to put a spotlight on them, we have sought answers from care home providers, the DoH, the Western Trust and the RQIA to explain why these charges are necessary.
“The Stormont Executive created a system allowing private companies to charge whatever they want. There’s no regulation of prices. There’s no monitoring of prices by RQIA.
“It’s a racket to enable profiteering.
“Care homes under enforcement action are allowed to continue to charge exorbitant prices.
“There’s no accountability for money paid by the Western Trust or families.
“The DoH should initiate an independently carried out review of pricing and top-up fees in the private care home sector.
“The Audit Office should be involved in this too.
“The core principles of the NHS are to keep it public and free at the point of use.
“The privatisation of the Care Home sector by the five Stormont Executive parties has fundamentally undermined this.
“The strikes by healthcare workers are about cost of living pay rises but also about undoing privatisation inflicted on the NHS by the Tories and Stormont Executive.
“We stand in full solidarity with all workers and families fighting for the future of our health and social care service.”