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Health Minister urged to intervene as closing date for Garvagh care home is revealed

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Ulster Unionist Councillor William McCandless has called on the Health Minister to make a last minute intervention on the closure of the Four Seasons care home in Garvagh. Following a visit to the home it was revealed to Councillor McCandless that it will cease operating on the 12 May 2016.

William McCandless said:

“We are now in the final weeks and months of this home and once it is gone it will be very difficult to bring back. Only last year the business had been operating in very healthy circumstances: it was full to capacity with 67 residents, and it had a brilliant team of staff. Unfortunately however ever since the Four Seasons Management announced categorically that they would be closing the home, before it seemed any efforts had even been taken to sell it as going concern, most of the residents have now been forced to move to new premises.

“I have spoken with some residents and many of their families and I am in no doubt that this entire situation has come as a major blow to them. Given so many of the residents had been diagnosed with varying stages of dementia the impact has been even further magnified.

“Whilst there had previously been some hope that a new buyer had been found, unfortunately this did not come to fruition and instead this too only further increased the anxiety and disappointment of everyone involved.

“It is clear there is a crisis in residential and nursing care. When the announcement was made last autumn that seven care homes were to close his response was wholly inadequate. I am glad now however that he has belatedly listened to the warnings that these seven were only the tip of the iceberg and that there are many more homes teetering on the brink. His recent decision to increase the tariff paid to homes by the Health Trusts by 2% is very welcome, but unfortunately it has come too late for Garvagh.

“I would therefore urge him to intervene and try to put a stop to the imminent closure of the home on the 12 May and support the current management in identifying a new owner – it is the least he can do given Ministerial inaction ultimately led to this situation in the first place.”

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