The Ulster Unionist Party has called on the Health Minister to lift the ban on care homes from admitting new permanent residents.
Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann said: “There is now a very obvious crisis in care home provision across Northern Ireland. The announcement that 7 private residential care homes are to close confirmed once and for all that the decision of the Health Trusts, which up until today was fully supported by the Health Minister, to decimate statutory care home provision was foolhardy.
“The Northern Health Trust had planned to close two care homes in my constituency – the Roddens in Ballymoney and Pinewood in Ballymena. I welcome the long overdue reprieve the Minister has now given these homes and the staff that work within them, however, what they need now is certainty for the future. 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 on new admissions remains in place these homes will never have a future.”
Ulster Unionist Councillor for Ballymoney, and Deputy Mayor of Causeway, Coast and Glens Council Darryl Wilson said: “I welcome the Minister’s last minute change of heart and I know it will come as great relief to residents and families affected. The Roddens provides much needed employment in the wider Ballymoney area and the home allows families the precious opportunity to remain close to their elderly loved ones.
“The announcement from the Four Seasons group that it is closing 7 care homes means it is now abundantly clear that the Roddens and other statutory care homes must play an even more critical role in looking after our elderly and vulnerable citizens.
“The original decision to close the statutory care homes was deeply flawed, and I hope the Minister’s decision to stall the closures is recognition of that, rather than a tactical and temporary exercise.”