The Health Minister Simon Hamilton has turned down a request to visit staff and residents at the Four Seasons Care Home in Donaghcloney, according to UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson
The request was issued last year by Mrs Dobson following the decision to close the home on Monree Road in the village.
Earlier this week Mrs Dobson met with Four Seasons Managing Director JP Watson to discuss a number of issues, including the closure of the home and the arrangements currently being made and carried out for residents, staff and their families.
Commenting after the meeting Mrs Dobson said: “The announcement of closure in November was a bitter blow to the village of Donacloney, the residents and the staff who have cared for so many local people.
“I explained to Mr Watson that I visited the home on a number of occasions and received an update from him on the process of transferring residents to new accommodation. This must be done in as sensitive and accommodating a way as possible.
“I also understand that the home remains on the open market and that Four Seasons remain keen that a buyer could still be found.
“Whilst I am disappointed that the Health Minister did not accept my request to visit the home I will be contacting the Chief Executive of the Southern Trust to receive an update from them on their involvement in finding new accommodation for residents.
A DHSSPS spokesperson said: “As a member of the Health Committee Mrs Dobson should understand that Four Seasons is a UK-wide independent provider and has made its decision to close seven nursing homes for commercial reasons, a decision taken entirely independently of the Department and the Health and Social Care Board.
“The Minister fully appreciates that this is a worrying time for residents and their families.
“The Department is working closely with colleagues in developing plans to manage the transition to alternative care arrangements. “The aim is to ensure that any relocation will be managed with minimal disruption to residents, and that they are able to remain as close to their original location as possible.
“The Department has established a joint working group with the HSCB, HSCTs and the RQIA to monitor developments and oversee the resettlement of the residents affected by the closures. “
Within Trusts, multi disciplinary teams have been established to work through the detail of all the moves, to identify new placements and to manage the terms of the moves. The continued well-being of residents will be the priority in dealing with any future transition to alternative care arrangements.”