There was a feeling of guarded relief for residents at Banbridge’s Crozier House, following an announcement by the Health Minister that they will no longer be forced to leave.
Crozier House was one of 18 NHS care homes in Northern Ireland that was earmarked for closure, but on Friday April 18 Edwin Poots met with residents to tell them the homes are to remain open ‘for as long as they wish and so long as their needs can continue to be met there’.
Residents are concerned however that the Health Minister has as yet failed to clarify the future admission policy, fearing it may lead to eventual closure of the homes.
Listening to the views and experiences of the residents of Crozier House, the Health Minister said: “The wellbeing and treatment of older people is a top priority for me. It is clear they value the friendships they have within the home, the closeness to family and connections with the community, as well as an appreciation of the quality of care and an attachment to the staff.
“During the consultation, every effort was made to engage with those most directly affected by this process - the residents. Meetings also took place with representatives from a range of key organizations.”
The minister added that he was keen to see an expanded role for care homes.
Upper Bann DUP MP, David Simpson, has been lobbying on behalf of the residents and staff of Crozier House for the past 12 months. He was delighted to meet residents again along with Mr Poots, to bring the good news.
Mr Simpson said: “I welcome the comments on residential homes from the Health Minister, which is great news for the residents of homes such as Crozier House and their families. It shows that the Minister and his officials have done as he promised and very clearly listened.”