Future of Cookstown’s Fairfields care home ‘hangs in the balance’

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“It appears that the future of Fairfields care home hangs in the balance,” a Mid Ulster MLA has said.

Concerned for the facility after its parent company went in to administration, UUP MLA Sandra Overend has called on the Minister for Health to ensure its future, as the jury is still out on whether Westlands Home will remain open.

Mrs Overend said: “I was disappointed to learn the concerning news that Fairfields which is managed by Care Circle Ltd and Slemish Homes Ltd has gone into administration.

“Although the administrator has said the residential home will continue to operate as normal, it appears that the future of the home hangs in the balance.

“Fairfields provides vital nursing, residential and dementia care for people right across the Northern Trust area and I know that the care and attention provided by the residential home is very much appreciated by its residents and their families. “The uncertainty now cast over the future of the home will be worrying for those residents and their families.”

Calling on Minister Michelle O’Neill “to address the lack of funding for private residential care homes”, she added: “I urge the Minister of Health to reassess the tariff as determined by the Health and Social Care Board for private providers and whether this is adequate to enable private care homes to provide their service in a sustainable way and to an acceptable level.

“Members of staff will also be concerned about their job security,” she continued, “and although the administrator has said that no redundancies are planned, it is important that employees are not left in the dark over the future of the home, particularly as they continue to care for residents.

“I urge the stakeholders involved, including the administrator, the Regular and the Trusts to work closely together to find a suitable buyer who will continue to provide this essential service to Mid Ulster for the long-term.

“Whilst an increasing number of people want to be cared for in their own homes, for as long as possible, it is imperative that for those for whom this is not possible that there are care home facilities in place.

“Given the future of Westlands Care Home which is owned by the Trust is still under review and their current non-permanent admissions policy is still in place, it is vital that the Minister gets to grips with this issue, and ensure that older people in Mid Ulster have the care facilities they deserve.”