Belfast Telegraph

Runwood Homes to pursue 'all legal remedies' to keep Ashbrooke Care Home open

By Claire Williamson

Runwood Homes is set to explore all "legal remedies" in a bid to keep Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen open.

Ashbrooke Care Home, a 64-bed home for the elderly, was ordered to shut its doors last Friday by health authorities.

It was operated by Runwood Homes, which claimed it did not get prior notification of the closure and said that an inspection in May found safe delivery of care.

It's the first time Northern Ireland's healthcare watchdog the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) has taken such immediate action.

It considered that there was a "serious risk to the life, health and wellbeing of all those living at Ashbrooke, and that assurances from the provider were not sufficient to address the risks identified".

It noted bad smells along with defective equipment, fire risks and concerns about staffing and a lack of clarity about management of the home.

At present the residents are still in the home as health chiefs try to find 40 new beds.

There have been calls for the Western Health and Social Care Trust to step in temporarily and take control of the Ashbrooke care home.

On Friday Group Operations Director for Runwood Homes, Gavin O'Hare-Connolly instructed legal advisers to pursue "all legal remedies to keep the doors open".

It comes after a meeting was held in the home on Thursday night with families of the residents who said they "fully supported" their decision.

Mr O’Hare-Connolly said: “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.

"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 & 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.”

RQIA carried out further unannounced visits at all 11 Runwood Homes facilities here at the weekend.

A spokesman said: "As a result of the concerns we identified at Ashbrooke Care Home, Enniskillen, on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August, RQIA conducted unannounced care inspections at each Runwood Homes Ltd service in Northern Ireland.

"During our inspections of these 11 services, RQIA was satisfied with the quality of care delivery at these services."

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