UNISON Northern Ireland warns of care home crisis

Closures of care homes increasing as private firms run into trouble

UNISON is growing increasingly concerned at a trend of care home closures in Northern Ireland.

That concern has been heightened by Deloitte’s announcement yesterday that three care homes in the Care Circle Group – Braefield in Connor, Slemish in Ballymena and Kingsway in Dunmurry – have gone into administration.

This came after last week’s decision by Belfast Trusts to close Pine Lodge Residential Care Home and follows the closure of several care homes runs by Four Seasons in the last year.

UNISON regional organiser Joe McCusker said: “This is a very worrying development. Yet again, we hear of private care homes going into administration or facing closure.

“This will not be the last we will hear of a private care home provider going into administration.”

And Mr McCusker continued: “With a growing, ageing population, closures of NHS and private-run care home – and an admission of a ban on permanent  residential care placements by health trusts – we are heading into a crisis in care home provision for our current and future older people.

“Over the last few years, UNISON has raised concerns about care home provision in Northern Ireland with the Department of Health and all health trusts, and our concerns appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

“We can no longer leave the care of the most vulnerable in our society to the uncertainty and volatility of the private market, and the distress this creates for residents, their relatives and staff working in care homes.”