Garvagh care home to close

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Four Seasons Health Care is to close seven care homes in Northern Ireland, including one in Garvagh.

Seven residential care homes in Northern Ireland are to close.

Four Seasons Health Care is the UK’s largest private care home operator and still runs another 62 care homes throughout Northern Ireland.

The seven care home closures will affect 254 patients and 393 staff.

A spokesman for the company described the decision as “difficult but unavoidable”.

The Garvagh Care Home houses 52 residents and 80 staff.

MLA Claire Sugden said she is ‘disappointed’ by the news: “I am disappointed by the news that Four Seasons Health Care will close seven elderly care homes across Northern Ireland including in Garvagh.

“Regrettably the news was a long time coming, and I expect we will hear of further closures unless the Health Minister ensures the HSC Trusts pay care providers for the service given.

“As chairperson of the All Party Group for Ageing and Older People, I have been contacted by various care providers, including domiciliary care providers who cannot sustain their high quality care at the rate the health Trusts pay. Up until now, care workers have felt the outcome of a low rate of pay who themselves are unpaid and work long and unsociable hours. Now we have lost seven homes, 392 jobs and much needed provision for 254 elderly residents.

Worryingly these closures are in the wake of statutory residential home closures such as the Roddens in the Northern Trust. Budget cuts need to be context. The Department is slashing care for older and vulnerable adults from all angles and eventually there will be nothing left. Public services, particularly for older people, are being decimated because of the lack of government strategy. It is unacceptable.

“I have expressed my concerns at a recent meeting with the Northern Trust, who remain sympathetic but feel their hands are tied unless money is forthcoming. I have sought a meeting with Four Seasons Health Care and extend the invitation to other care providers in NI so I can take their concerns to the Minister.”