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THE Montague Care Home in Portstewart is to close, it was confirmed yesterday.

Residents, their families and staff were given the devastating news last Thursday night at a meeting called by Montague owners, HC One.

The shock closure will affect 41 staff and 53 residents.

The owners said that despite improvement work on the care home at Church Road it was clear that they could not bring the building up to a suitable standard.

On Friday we spoke to the daughter of a resident who is anxious about her father’s future.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, told the Times that her family were happy with the care and support offered to her father at The Montague and that they were “devastated” by the news.

She said: “We were told last night [Thursday] that the home would be closing in three months.

“That gives us between now and Christmas to find somewhere else for my father to stay.

“We were really happy with the facilities at the Montague, they have a dedicated dementia unit and the staff are truly amazing.

“I just can’t understand it, within the last few months two new managers have been started and they are recruiting new staff - now we are told that it is closing, it doesn’t make sense.

“ I understand that staff have been given 30 days notice and I fully understand that if they find other employment they will want to move on. But, my worry is what the residents will be left with when this very dedicated team of staff go.”

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In a statement issued on Monday, Montague owners, HC One said that the “recruitment process was necessary to maintain appropriate staffing levels.”

The statement also reassured families, saying: “We will work closely and openly with every resident, their families and relevant authorities to make sure that each resident moves to a home that can cater to their individual needs.

“Our team will also be working closely with the relevant authorities, as well of course with residents and their families, to reduce the disruption from this difficult transition as much as possible on the residents.

“These tough decisions have only been made in order to ensure that the standards of care provided are the most appropriate they can be.”

East Londonderry MP, Gregory Campbell, said he was saddened to hear of the closure.

“Relatives have spoken highly of the professional care provided by staff under the HC One ownership, and they obviously want their family members currently resident at the Montague to be found a suitable placement in another care home as soon as possible.

“The Northern Health Trust needs to ensure that they facilitate residents in finding that right home for each resident.

“Given our ageing population there is a need for more, not fewer, top quality Nursing Care homes in the region.”