Northern Ireland news

New local company to oversee troubled care home group

Chairperson of Kathryn Homes Theresa Nixon and managing director Dermot Parsons. Picture by Kelvin Boyes
Mairead Holland

A NEW company headed by two former health watchdog directors has been set up to manage a group of troubled care homes.

Theresa Nixon and Dermot Parsons, who previously worked for the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), will lead Kathryn Homes.

It will be responsible for 12 facilities across Northern Ireland previously managed by Runwood Homes.

Runwood Homes was responsible for Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast, now known as City View Court, which was at the centre of a Covid-19 outbreak last May in which some residents had to be relocated.

An inspection by the RQIA also identified concerns about governance, management and leadership and warned patients and staff could be put at risk of harm due to problems surrounding infection prevention.

Meanwhile, Dunmurry Manor, now renamed Oak Tree Manor, received a damning report by the Commissioner for Older People Eddie Lynch in 2018.

It found that residents had suffered neglect while one vulnerable woman was sexually abused by a resident.

A criminal investigation into allegations of mistreatment was subsequently launched by the PSNI.

Last October, a joint investigation was launched by the PSNI's public protection branch and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust into Glenabbey Manor care home in Glengormley after claims of a breach of Covid-19 legislation.

In a statement, Kathryn Homes, which has a local board of directors, said its establishment "signifies a new dawn of accountability".

It will be led by chairman Ms Nixon, formerly director of assurance at the RQIA, where she was responsible for the annual inspection regime and any regulatory actions required.

Mr Parsons, also a former director of assurance within RQIA, has been appointed managing director.

Ms Nixon said: “The establishment of a new company and appointment of an experienced board signifies a new dawn of accountability at a local level and will ensure sound governance.

“Collectively, the well-being of residents is our number one priority. In our new roles we are dedicated to providing safe, comfortable homes where residents can receive the right care based on their needs as well as preferences."

A £1m refurbishment programme is currently underway at City View Court.

Also joining the board are Maureen Hetherington, a former Hospital Pharmacist of the Year; GP Dr Eileen Atchison; senior accountant Stephen Elliott; Tom Sanders, who has more than 30 years' experience in facilities management; and Kathryn Clark, who has had a long-standing career within the health and social care sector.

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