TUV hits out at possible care home closures... including post-election timing

Jim Allister
Jim Allister

The TUV yesterday suggested it is not a “coincidence” that news of possible care home closures has broken just after the general election.

Jim Allister MLA was reacting to the news that up to 10 of the Province’s 19 publicly-run care homes could shut down, with consultations into their future set to begin.

Details emerged yesterday, giving an indication of the numbers of residents living in the homes which have been earmarked for possible closure.

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) said even if a decision is made to shut a particular home, all residents will still be given the option to live there as long as all their care needs can be met.

However admissions would stop, meaning such residents could face remaining in an increasingly deserted venue.

Mr Allister said yesterday: “It is difficult to believe that it is coincidental that this news should break immediately after an election rather than before.”

He was concerned particularly about Pinewood nursing home in Ballymena, which could undergo transformation under the plans.

“The fact that the DUP never lifted the moratorium on new admissions meant that the long term viability of the home was always in question,” said Mr Allister.

Fionnuala McAndrew, director of Social Care and Children with the HSCB – which announced the plans on Tuesday – said yesterday: “There will always be a need for some level of residential care but the changing trends and desires of people must be taken into account too as we plan for the future.”

Closure is proposed for the following homes (numbers in brackets represent the number of residents as of summer 2014).

Southern Trust: Roxborough House, Moy (16 residents); Slieve Roe, Kilkeel (7).

South Eastern Trust: Northfield, Donaghadee (4).

Belfast Trust: Pine Lodge (5); Chestnut Grove (8).

Northern Trust: Pinewood, Ballymena (to be turned into “community rehabilitation unit”) (7); Roddens, Ballymoney (10); Westlands, Cookstown (to be turned into a “community hub”) (14).

Western Trust: William Street, Londonderry (13); Rectory Field, Waterside (12).

In addition, Skeagh House in Dromore would remain shut.