Care Home Closures

Part of Question for Urgent Oral Answer — Health, Social Services and Public Safety – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 30th November 2015.

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Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP 3:30 pm, 30th November 2015

I do not accept the premise of the first point about a failure by me or my predecessors. The issues with the particular provider that is closing the seven homes developed over the recent while. Although we have been aware of difficulties that it was facing, we were not aware until very latterly that, specifically, it was to close the seven homes indicated last Tuesday. I do not accept that there was much that I could have done, as Health Minister in a devolved region, to bail out a company paying over 10% on its debts and in such a difficult financial position.

There was probably very little that I could have done to arrest that.

In respect of reopening admissions, some of the consultations undertaken by the trusts on statutory residential care homes recommended that some of those homes be kept and reopened for admissions. I want to see that proceed, but I am open to the idea of reopening admissions in particular areas if that is the appropriate thing to do. It is not something that I can say authoritatively is the best thing to do in every case, but it is certainly something that I would like the board and the trusts to reflect on in the current circumstances with the volatility that there is in the market. If it is the right thing to do, I hope that they will do it.