Northern Ireland news

Residents to be moved from north Belfast nursing home

Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast
Connla Young

Residents at a north Belfast nursing home are to be relocated after Covid-19 concerns were raised.

Health minister Robin Swann confirmed that residents at Clifton Nursing Home are to be found new homes.

The dramatic development comes after concerns were raised about the running of the home, which was subject to recent inspections from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and ongoing regulatory activity.

Clifton Nursing Home is owned Runwood Homes, which has been in the headlines due to concerns were raised about another of its facilities, Oak Tree Manor in Dunmurry.

Concerns about the Clifton Nursing home were highlighted as far back as 2009, with the north Belfast centre banned from taking in new admissions in 2015.

Fresh concerns were also raised about standards in 2017.

Mr Swann said some of the latest issues are linked to coronavirus.

“The concerns about the home relate in part to its management of a Covid-19 outbreak,” he said.

“It needs to be stressed that a large majority of care homes in Northern Ireland do not have Covid-19 outbreaks.

“Where homes do have outbreaks, they are working closely with trusts, the Public Health Agency and RQIA to appropriately manage the situation.

“If a home's response is inadequate, action will be taken – as has happened in this case.”

Mr Swann said the relocation process is being led by Belfast Trust, after discussions with the Department of Health.

The minister added that the process is being handled sensitively, with residents and families being closely consulted.

“I very much regret that this serious intervention has become necessary,” he said.

“There have been ongoing concerns about this home, with recent inspections from the RQIA and ongoing regulatory activity.

“Given the current situation facing care homes with Covid-19, decisive action is essential.”

Mr Swann said the wellbeing of residents will be ensured.

“At the same time, ongoing action is being taken to protect residents,” he said.

“Senior nursing and other staff from Belfast Trust are and will continue to be on the ground in the home to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents.

“This will be essential to give the necessary time to move residents at a safe pace and in consultation with them and their families.”

Mr Swann acknowledged that the decision to move residents will cause distress for some.

“This is, of course, far from being an ideal situation,” he said.

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