Care home given stay of execution as local health trust takes over

Ashbrooke Care Home has now been closed down
Ashbrooke Care Home has now been closed down

A care home that inspectors said was so poorly run that its elderly residents’ lives were at risk will stay open for “an interim period” while the remaining residents are relocated.

Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen, run by Runwood Homes Ltd, has now effectively been taken over by the Western Trust while relocations are sought for the remaining residents.

The trust, which had hoped to have all residents moved out of Ashbrooke by now, says “appropriate” accommodation could not be found in such a short space of time.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) moved to have the home closed on August 18.

It was the first time such immediate action had ever been taken following an inspection of any care home in Northern Ireland.

The RQIA’s chief executive said at the time that conditions in the home were so bad that there was “a serious risk to the life, health and wellbeing” of all Ashbrooke residents.

Now, the RQIA has registered the Western Trust to manage the home, but only until residents can be relocated, after which time it will close.

However, Runwood Homes says it intends to appeal the RQIA’s decision to close the home in the first place.

RQAI chief executive Olive McLeod said: “In order to facilitate the managed placement of the remaining residents at Ashbrooke, today, RQIA has registered the Western Trust to manage a small number of residential care places at this home, for an interim period. This registration will cease and the home will close when the remaining residents are placed in alternative accommodation.”

Kieran Downey, the Western Trust’s executive director of social work, said: “To date, 33 clients have been assigned to accommodation within the Fermanagh area.” He added that “appropriate” accommodation could not yet be found for the remainder.

Gavin O’Hare-Connolly, group operations director of Runwood Homes, said: “The welfare of our residents is our foremost concern, so we are reassured that the Western Trust is creating this breathing space to accommodate the timely and appropriate relocation of the people who are still in our care. We intend having weekly meetings with our staff to update them on the ongoing situation and we will be offering them redeployment to sister homes or redundancy as appropriate.

“Runwood Homes intends to lodge an appeal against the RQIA decision to close the home in the next week, but we anticipate that the appeal process could take several months.”