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Evelyn Hoy, Chief Executive: ‘HSC Trusts will have to work hard to make sure residents are given suitable alternative choices’

25 November, 2015

Evelyn Hoy, Chief Executive of The Commissioner for Older People, has said that it is disappointing that seven Four Seasons care homes are closing, and Health and Social Care Trusts must now make sure that residents are given alternative choices that are as good as, or better than, their current arrangements.

Four Seasons Health Care announced yesterday that they are to close seven care homes as they are 'operating at a loss and no longer viable'. They also stated that a national shortage of nurses means they have had difficulty recruiting and retaining suitable staff and are having to rely on temporary agency nurses at a higher cost. Over 250 older people will be affected by the closures and are now faced with finding alternative accommodation before the closures commence in February next year.


Speaking about the closures, Evelyn Hoy, Chief Executive of The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland said;
"This is obviously disappointing news that seven care homes are closing, homes that people have lived in for years. Health and Social Care Trusts involved will need to work hard to ensure almost 250 residents are given alternative choices that are as good as, or better than, their current arrangements. Any alternative provision must be based on their individual need and preference whether this may be making sure they are close to the community to continue to partake in community life, or that they are moved to the same place as their friends who they have become accustomed to spending time with.


"The issues raised by the provider around the unsustainability of the sector are of concern. The HSC Board and Health Minister must look critically at the regional tariff if it is the case that organisations can't provide the required quality and level of care with the money available.


"It is welcome news that the Minister has announced the halt and review of the consultation on closing ten statutory residential care homes so that the impact of loss of provision in the independent sector can properly be considered. It is very fortunate that this was not later down the line when the statutory residential homes may have already been closed otherwise this may not have been possible. Government must plan and properly consider, through the commissioning of an expert health economist, the true cost of nursing, residential and domiciliary care. Older people deserve to have a range of sustainable choices for their care."