Ulster Unionist Councillors William McCandless and Darryl Wilson have expressed their deep regret after it was confirmed to them that there has been no sale of the Four Seasons Care Home in Garvagh.
The Four Seasons care group had previously said it would be closing the home along with 6 others across Northern Ireland, and for several months there was speculation that a new private investor or alternative provider had shown interest in purchasing the Garvagh business.
Councillor William McCandless said: “In the weeks before Christmas many people, not least the 50 residents and 80 staff, were delighted when it appeared that the future of the Garvagh care home had been secured. Unfortunately now however I have had it confirmed that the home has in fact not been sold and its closure remains imminent.
“This is major blow to the town and this latest news will only further compound the original sense of disappointment from when the announcement of closure was first made in November last year.
“I, along with many others, had hoped another provider had recognised the potential of the home in Garvagh. Not only had it a great team of staff along with very satisfied residents, it also had strong support from right across the local area. The only reason we were told that the home was closing in the first place was because it supposedly isn’t viable, yet when the Ulster Unionist Party has questioned the Managing Director of Four Seasons in Northern Ireland on several occasions demanding to know what efforts were made to try to sell the business as a going concern, we are met with silence. That simply isn’t good enough so we have now contacted its overall UK headquarters directly in Cheshire.”
Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Council Darryl Wilson said:“I am deeply saddened that it appears the sale of the Garvagh care home has not materialised. I along with other Party colleagues visited the home and listened to the concerns of the staff, the residents and their families and I really did hope that a buyer could be found in order to secure the future of the home moving forward. If the home does ultimately close families are going to be scattered further apart from their loved ones, and there are going to be many hardworking people out of work through no fault of their own.
“Over the last number of years there has been a growing crisis across our residential and nursing care homes. The Northern Health Trust, propped up by respective weak Health Ministers, had previously attempted close two other local care homes– the Roddens in Ballymoney and Pinewood in Ballymena. Whilst at the end of last year I welcomed Simon Hamilton’s long overdue reprieve for the homes, unless he follows it up will real action his comments were little more than a delaying tactic and a cynical political exercise.
“What these homes need most right now is certainty for the future, and this can only be given through a commitment that they will be allowed to begin admitting new residents again. For as long as the ban remains in place these homes will never have a future.
“A wider root and branch review of nursing and residential care for older people is desperately needed; we simply cannot continue to keep lurching from one crisis to another. I hope the Minister will recognise the value of these homes and give them the necessary resources. In addition I would urge all the relevant stakeholders to do their best over the next weeks and months to come to try to identify a new purchaser of the home in Garvagh.”