Fears of job losses after several care home operators go into administration

Kingsway Private Nursing Home in Dunmurry is among those to fall into administration

THERE are fears for hundreds of jobs as the operators of several care homes in Northern Ireland have been placed into administration.

Administrators have been appointed to Care Circle Ltd and Slemish Homes which own and operate three homes in Co Antrim and manage a fourth in Cookstown.

The companies, part of the wider Care Circle Group, employ 310 permanent and agency staff at Braefield in Connor, Slemish in Ballymena and Kingsway in Dunmurry.

And dozens more work at the Fairfields home in Cookstown which the firms manage.

The four homes have a combined capacity to cater for more than 230 people.

Peter Allen from Deloitte has been appointed administrator.

He said the homes would continue to operate as normal and stressed there were no job losses planned as a result of the business being put into administration.

Mr Allen said the businesses have been placed into administration to enable continued trading.

“All necessary steps have been taken to ensure the existing standard of care remains in place at the homes," he said,

"We are operating closely with the regulator and the trusts and we will be meeting residents and their families to explain the purpose of the administration and to provide comfort that there will be no material difference in how the homes operate."

He said it was the intented to sell the homes as going concerns adding it would be “business as usual” until a buyer, or buyers, was identified.

The Kingsway home in Dunmurry attracted headlines last year when it was accused of neglecting its residents.

However, subsequent inspections by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) found the home to have improved its practices.

The overall Care Circle Group operates 12 facilities across Northern Ireland and employs more than 800 people.

That makes it the largest independently owned care home operator in the north.

The most recent set of publicly available accounts for Care Circle Ltd showed a profit of £1.2m was made in 2014 following losses of more than £70,000 the previous year.

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