It seems unlikely to at least one district councillor that Dromore’s Skeagh House will ever re-open.
It was a disappointed Council chairman, the SDLP’s Marie Hamilton, who voiced the fear at a recent meeting of the local authority’s healthcare sub-committee, where concerns were aired too in respect of Banbridge’s Crozier House.
Both residential care homes are subject to the consultation introduced after former Stormont Health Minster Edwin Poots reined in widespread closure plans from the health Trusts. Skeagh House’s outlook was further overshadowed by the Barban Hill Terrace landslip that forced the home’s immediate evacuation. Still unresolved, the situation is one that has seen the home stand empty ever since.
According to the UUP’s Councillor John Hanna, who enquired about costs for Skeagh House, staff remain concerned over the uncertainty of its future.
His party colleague, Councillor Olive Mercer, stressed the need for safety issues at Skeagh House to be resolved and for the home to be in operation again.
Councillors were considering a November 26 letter from Southern Health and Social Care Trust Chief Executive Mairead McAlinden, in which she advised that admissions to Crozier House would be suspended until consultation was completed.
Crozier House staff were reportedly concerned over the lack of permanent residency and senior management had been made aware of the concerns.
Frontline staff had reported positive communication but there were currently no permanent beds available at Crozier House and the lengthy process had proved diconcerting for some.
Councillor Joan Baird noted that respite care in Crozier House was full and more beds were needed but nursing care was of a high quality and residents were happy otherwise.
Mrs McAlinden assured the Council the Trust had only considered admissions data up to 2012 to ensure there was no adverse impact on the future of either home.
Councillor Hanna urged the new supercouncil (due to begin operating in earnest in April) to keep pressure on the Southern Health and Social Care Trust to ensure both Skeagh House and Crozier House remained open.
It was agreed Mrs McAlinden be invited to meet with the council neaxt month.