24/11/2015

Seven NI Care Homes To Close

Seven care homes in Northern Ireland are to close.

Owned by private operator Four Seasons the homes to close are Victoria Park Care Home and Stormont Care Home in Belfast; Antrim Care Home; Garvagh Care Home; Donaghcloney Care Home near Banbridge; Oakridge Care Home in Ballynahinch and Hamilton Court in Armagh.

On Monday, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £25.4million for the third quarter of the year.

A Four Seasons spokesperson said: "The principal reason behind this decision is that each of these homes is operating at a loss and they are no longer viable.

"The fee income that the homes receive is below the cost of the care they are providing and we have effectively been paying a subsidy for them to continue to provide care. We regret that we cannot continue to sustain this position.

"Additionally, the national shortage of nurses means it has been difficult to recruit and retain permanent staff of the right calibre.
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"This leaves the homes reliant on temporary agency nurses in order to maintain staffing levels, that carries a high cost and presents challenges in maintaining the quality of care we expect to provide.

"The wellbeing of the residents is our priority and the homes will continue to provide care while we allow plenty of time for them and their families to be supported to find suitable alternative placements. We will do everything we can to ensure there is no disruption to their care during this time.

"Four Seasons welcomes applications for staff to transfer to the company's other homes, subject to suitable vacancies being available.

"We would like to retain as many employees as we can and we expect that most of our nurses and a substantial number of our care staff will be able to transfer.

"The decision to close any home is not taken lightly, but we have to focus on homes that are capable of operating successfully to deliver high standards of care for the longer term

“We are committed to providing elderly care in Northern Ireland, where we are by far the leading provider and will have 62 care homes remaining in operation."

(CD/MH)


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