Northern Ireland news

Co Antrim care home closure 'will be big blow to community'

The Model Care Home in Ballymoney, Co Antrim. Picture by Model Group NI Ltd

THE closure of a Co Antrim care home will come as a "big blow", politicians have said after a regulator raised concerns about the facility's financial arrangements.

The closure of The Model Care Home in Ballymoney, which employs 60 staff, means 28 residents will have to move.

The Regulatory and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) has said there was an "absence of assurances" around the home's financial arrangements.

The Model Care Home said the action was "unfortunate", adding it is seeking urgent legal advice.

"It appears that RQIA's concerns relate to administrative issues with registration, which the company are actively seeking to resolve with RQIA," it said.

In a statement, the RQIA said it "must ensure that management of The Model Care Home is held accountable for the safety and wellbeing of its residents and its business and financial arrangements to support the delivery of safe and effective care.

"In the absence of such assurances RQIA must exercise its duties under the legislation. Throughout this, our focus remains on the safety and wellbeing of its residents."

Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said the closure will "create real anxiety for the residents and their families".

"It will also have a significant impact on over 50 staff who currently work there," he said.

"This is a huge blow to staff and to the residents and their families, many of whom are elderly and vulnerable and no doubt this will cause huge trauma and disruption to them.

"I have been in contact with both the RQIA and the Northern Trust. The focus now needs to be on prioritising the needs of residents and ensuring a smooth transition takes place to minimise disruption to their lives."

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the DUP's Ivor Wallace, said his thoughts are with the home's staff and residents.

"Many of these people are elderly and vulnerable and I am very sorry to hear that they now face the prospect of having to move elsewhere," he said.

"It's also a very worrying time for the care home staff who rely on the facility for employment, especially in this current climate with the cost-of-living crisis.

"Staff and residents will have formed important bonds with each other so it's very sad to think that these valuable connections will now be lost."

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