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

While some might wish to use this example of a firm that has had well-publicised difficulties to have a go at the independent sector and say that it is not the best way to provide care for our elderly people, I understand from media reports in the immediate aftermath of the announcement by Four Seasons to close the seven homes that other firms have indicated a desire to look at them, take them over and run them as a viable business. That has certainly been in the public domain. I have also met other independent providers who are not in the Northern Ireland market but are expressing an interest in being in it. Whilst there has been an issue with one provider and its viability, there are others expressing an interest in the seven homes and in coming into the Northern Ireland market. Whilst we are very concerned about what is happening with Four Seasons and are keeping a watching brief on it, there are others in the independent sector who see opportunities in Northern Ireland.