Talks with care home regulator RQIA over decision to close County Antrim care home

Last-ditch talks aimed at averting the closure of a Co Antrim care home have been taking place between Northern Ireland’s health regulator and local politicians, it has emerged.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 17th June 2022, 7:33 am
Updated Friday, 17th June 2022, 10:39 am

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) announced on Wednesday that it had successfully applied for the registration of the Model Care Home in Ballymoney to be cancelled.

In a statement, the regulator said this was done due to an “absence of assurances around its financial arrangements”.

In a statement, DUP MP Ian Paisley (pictured) said he had been in discussion with the RQIA in an attempt to prevent the home’s closure.

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Ian Paisley

“I have been in contact with Model Nursing Home and discussed the announcement by the RQIA and a notice to force its closure,” Mr Paisley said.

“This is an alarming and distressful situation for the residents , staff and families. I have for the past two days been in contact with RQIA and have asked to meet with them to establish a process where the excellent care home would not have to close.”

TUV MLA Jim Allister, meanwhile, was also involved in talks with the regulator.

“From discussions I had with the RQIA it is clear that this is not because of care issues but is purely because of finance,” he said.

“This pays scant regard for the interests of residents who are now to be forced from their home.”

Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan, meanwhile, said: “This is a huge blow to staff and to the residents and their families, many of whom are elderly and vulnerable and no doubt this will cause huge trauma and disruption to them. I have been in contact with both the RQIA and the Northern Trust. The focus now needs to be on prioritising the needs of residents.”

The RQIA, in its statement, said it “acknowledges that this is a very difficult time for residents and families of The Model Care Home, and its staff”, and that it is “working closely” with the Northern Trust, who are “engaging with residents and their families”.