Health Minister Simon Hamilton has instructed the Health and Social Care Board to halt and review the proposed closures of Statutory Residential Care Homes.
Speaking today, Health Minister Simon Hamilton said: “Trusts have been engaging in consultations on statutory residential care homes in their areas, with three already complete and two still outstanding. When concluded, proposals will be forwarded to the Board for consideration before they come to me for a final decision. None of them have to date made it as far as the Department.
“I have become increasingly concerned about a range of pressures facing the Independent sector and particular problems facing one of the largest independent providers of residential care in Northern Ireland.
“I have been keeping developments under constant review and as a consequence of these growing concerns and confirmation today that Four Seasons Health Care will close seven homes across Northern Ireland, I am asking the Health and Social Care Board to halt and review the proposed closures of Statutory Residential Care Homes.
“Given that many of the proposals are predicated on spare local capacity in the Independent sector, it is only right and proper to pause, reflect and give careful consideration to issues arising in the Independent sector.
The Minister has also assured residents that they are the priority in any future transitions: “The Board is working closely with colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety, Health and Social Care Trusts, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority and Four Seasons Health Care to ensure that there is regional and local coordination in managing this process.
“The continued well-being of residents will be the priority in dealing with any future transition to alternative care arrangements. The intention is to ensure that any relocation will be managed with minimal disruption to them, that they are able to remain as close to the original location as possible and that there will be no additional financial implications created by the move. All of the parties involved are committed to ensuring that there is clear, regular communication with residents and their representatives to address any concerns which may arise.”