NHS has paid more than £4.6m to Dunmurry Manor home, it's revealed
The health service has paid more than £4.6m to Runwood Homes for people to live at Dunmurry Manor since it opened in 2014, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
In total, the firm has received almost £25m from four of Northern Ireland's health trusts in the past decade.
Four health trusts provided the information in response to an FOI request, however the exact amount of taxpayers' money handed over to the firm is unknown as the Northern Trust has refused to reveal its expenditure.
The trust said it would not provide the information as it is commercially sensitive and it is not in the public interest to release the figures.
However, it is coming under pressure to reveal the figures following the devastating official investigation into conditions at Dunmurry Manor.
The scathing report by the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland criticised Runwood Homes for not providing proper continence pads for residents, leaving worried relatives to buy them instead.
It also emerged that staff at the home had to buy their own blood pressure monitors as the ones provided by Runwood Homes were broken.
Paula Bradshaw, the Alliance Party's health spokesperson, said: "There must be no hiding behind technicalities at a time when families of those at Dunmurry Manor, and indeed the wider public, are rightly seeking answers and assurance. Trusts must, immediately, be open and honest with all involved."
The money handed over to Runwood Homes by the trusts is even more significant given the fact the owner of the firm, Gordon Sanders, is reported to have taken a payout worth up to £7m last year, after profits surged.
The self-made entrepreneur and his family's wealth was estimated at £193m in last year's Sunday Times Rich List. Meanwhile, a leading patients' organisation has called for all health trusts to stop placing people in Runwood Homes.
Aidan Hanna of Northern Ireland Patient Voice said: "Given the figures released by the Belfast Telegraph and the content of the commissioner's report, we would call on all health trusts to start a process of ending their contracts with Runwood Homes.
"What needs to happen for the trusts to say 'enough is enough'?"
According to figures gathered by the Belfast Telegraph, the South Eastern Trust paid almost £2.5m to Runwood Homes for elderly people to live at Dunmurry Manor since it opened in 2014.
In 2016 alone, it paid out more than £925,000 for people to be cared for at the home. So far this year, it has paid £408,251 to Runwood Homes.
The Belfast Trust paid more than £2m between the beginning of 2014 and the end of March this year for people to live at Dunmurry Manor. In the first four months of this year, it handed over £238,235 to Runwood Homes to cover the cost of people living at Dunmurry Manor.
The Southern Trust paid £152,409 between 2014 and 2017, for people to live at Dunmurry Manor. In total, it has paid out more than £3m between 2011 and 2017 to Runwood Homes.
Meanwhile, the Western Trust paid more than £1.2m to the firm between 2015 and the end of March this year.
The figures include a £1m bill for sending people to live at the now closed Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen.
The facility was forced to close its doors last summer after health inspectors said it posed a serious risk to life.
Runwood Homes challenged the decision but subsequently accepted the action taken by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.