Belfast Telegraph

Care home boss vows to keep closure-hit Ashbrooke open

The operator of a care home ordered to shut down by inspectors has vowed to keep its doors open.

Runwood Homes, which owns the Ashbrooke home in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, said it would pursue "all legal remedies" to keep it running.

Northern Ireland's health watchdog, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), ordered the home's closure last week citing serious concerns over the risk to life, health and well-being of residents. It was the first time the RQIA has taken such immediate action to shut a facility in the region.

As it stands, new accommodation will have to be found for its 40 residents, 39 of whom are NHS clients of the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

It is understood some may have to be relocated as far away as Londonderry.

Gavin O'Hare-Connolly, group operations director for Runwood Homes, claimed the residents' families wanted the home kept opened.

"In a meeting at the home last night, families said they fully supported our decision to work with the Western Trust and RQIA to retain a residential facility at Ashbrooke," he said.

"They asked me to underline that despite recent issues, they are satisfied with the care their loved ones have received and the dedication of our staff.

"We are humbled by their support and our aim now is to continue providing the very best care we can on that site.

"On behalf of the company, I wish to express once again our sincere apologies to the residents, their families and the staff for the management failures that resulted in the RQIA's action against Ashbrooke Care Home.

"As the newly appointed group operations director, my priority in the last week was to bring in our national health and safety team to conduct a complete review of all our facilities in Northern Ireland. We did so in conjunction with the RQIA, which has given all of them a clean bill of health.

"My focus now is to respond positively to requests from our Enniskillen families to continue caring for elderly residents in their own community.

"This is a duty and responsibility we take very seriously and we will explore every avenue to try and make that happen."

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