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Double amputee (88) faces ‘upheaval’ with Co Antrim care home set for closure following RQIA decision

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An 88-year-old double-amputee resident of a care home in Ballymoney has said she is “very worried” after it was confirmed the facility faces closure.

On Wednesday, the Model Care Home received notice it will close because of serious concerns surrounding the financial arrangements in place.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), which monitors health and social care facilities in Northern Ireland, said the decision had been made in the interest of patient safety.

The announcement will impact the 28 residents living at the home and the operators of the facility told BBC NI the action is "wholly unjustified".

According to the RQIA there was an "absence of assurances" around the home's financial arrangements.

Mary McTaggart is one of those who will now be forced to relocate to a new home. Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme, she said there were “no complaints” about the level of care residents received.

“They were all very good to me here and I had nothing to worry about. I just don’t know what to think I feel worried about the move,” she told the show.

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“I am 88 and I don’t have much time left and I have no legs and I can do nothing for myself. They were very good to me in here.

“I loved every one and they were all so good to me, I am worried about leaving that all behind.

“When these girls are around me, I haven't to think about anything, they do everything for me.”

A spokesman for the RQIA said it regretted the decision, but patient safety was the priority.

“As a result of serious concerns in relation to the registration status of The Model Care Home, Ballymoney, and an absence of assurances around its financial arrangements, on June 13 2022, RQIA made a successful application to a Justice of the Peace to cancel the registration of this service,” they said.

“RQIA acknowledges that this is a very difficult time for residents and families of The Model Care Home, and its staff. At present we are working closely with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, who are engaging with residents and their families directly affected by these circumstances.”

The local MP Ian Paisley said he plans to meet with the chief executive of the RQIA on Thursday.

“If Mary was your mummy or granny, wouldn’t your heart be broken this morning?” he said.

“I understand first of all, the RQIA carried out a very detailed inspection and the standard and quality of care was exceptional.

“I have arranged today to meet with the chief executive of RQIA. This notice of closure can be appealed.

“There aren’t any alternatives for local people. In a rural area like Ballymoney, everyone knows everyone.

“It really is a home from home for these folk. The upheaval it will cause to these residents - I think it is wrong, I think it is heavy handed.”

Sinn Fein’s Philip McGuigan said the closure is “deeply concerning”.

"This 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.”

A statement from the RQIA continued to say they had to ensure the management of The Model Care Home was held accountable for the safety and wellbeing of residents, and that the 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,” they continued.


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