Residents at Rosedale Residential Home in Antrim will no longer have to seek alternative accommodation following the announcement by Health Minister Edwin Poots that the premises has been given a reprieve from closure.
Mr Poots gave residents, their families and staff the good news when he visited Rosedale last week, confirming that residents would not be moved while they wished to remain at the facility on the Kilreel Road
Rosedale had been earmarked for closure along with other homes in the Western and Northern Health Trust areas last April.
The public outcry that quickly followed led to a consultation process which concluded last month.
The daughter of 83-year-old resident Lilian Watt spoke of her mother’s delight at news of a surprise reprieve for Rosedale.
Eleanor Fee said her mother has been a resident in Rosedalefor four years, “a place she now really considers her home, with flowers outside her bedroom window and a bird box”.
“My mum is in good form now. She has led a very active life and has four of a family, although I am the only one left in Northern Ireland. She is not terribly active now but very alert in her mind,” Ms Fee said.
She added that her mother had been “very worried” after being told the home was due to close.
“We noticed she didn’t want to go out as she felt she might not get in again. As I said to Mr Poots, I class the staff in there as mummy’s extended family because they are very good to her. If I can’t be there, I know that they are there, although I do pop in every day,” Eleanor said.
She added: “Edwin Poots came to the home on Wednesday and answered as many questions as he could and hopefully it will stay open and this is not just another gimmick.”
South Antrim DUP MP William McCrea welcomed the decision and said he welcomed the immediate intervention to halt the Northern Trust’s plans.
“My South Antrim DUP colleagues Paul Girvan and Pam Cameron joined with Trevor Clarke and myself in making resolute and determined representation on behalf of Rosedale,” Mr McCrea said.
He added: “The Minister honoured his commitment to visit Rosedale on Wednesday evening and met with Heather the manager, her excellent team of committed staff, as well as the residents in the company of Trevor Clarke and myself.
“The Minister delivered excellent news to those assembled and removed the threat passed by the Northern Trust to have residents allocated to other places.
“The distress caused to our elderly by the Trust’s proposal was intolerable and only for the Minister’s timely and forthright action, many of the residents would have been displaced.”
Mr McCrea added he was delighted that the threat hanging over Rosedale has been removed and the residents are fully assured that none of them will be denied their wish to stay there.
“I will continue to press the Minister on the need to open up the admission policy to allow others who desire to make Rosedale their home during their latter years to do so,” Mr McCrea said.
Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly welcomed the news and visited the home shortly after the announcement was made to pass on his good wishes to all the staff and residents.
“This has been a very distressing period for residents and their families with the possibility of these care homes being closed,” Cllr. Kelly said.
He added: “The announcement last year that all the care homes in the Northern Trust would be closed was an irrational decision, so I am glad that they have performed a u-turn.
“There is still a need for the Trust to provide a residential care home service. I hope there will also be good news about the other care homes under threat.”
The news was also welcomed by the UUP’s Paul Michael, but he urged for clarity on admissions policy to the home.
“Information is still not fully clear on Rosedale - will this mean new admissions, as there has not been admissions in some time; there are still questions needing answers,” Cllr. Kelly said.