Coronavirus: Clifton Nursing Home may be taken over by independent provider

Clifton Nursing HoneImage copyright

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Concerns were raised about Clifton Nursing Home’s handling of a Covid-19 outbreak

Advanced talks are under way between health officials and an independent care home company over the future of Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast.

The home, which is owned by Runwood Homes, was ordered to close on Friday following a series of failed inspections by regulator, the RQIA.

The 62 residents were to be relocated.

Independent provider Healthcare Ireland has confirmed it is negotiating the possibility of taking on the home’s short-term management.

Healthcare Ireland owns and operates 14 nursing homes across Northern Ireland.

A company spokesperson said the talks with the Department of Health, the Health Minister’s office, the Belfast Trust and the RQIA began late last week and a management team was ready to move in “as soon as this agreement is finalised”.

“This would mean the Clifton residents could stay where they are without the need to move them and should give much-needed reassurance to both residents and their families,” the spokesperson added.

The failed inspections, which led to the order to close the home, were around governance, management and leadership – serious issues which were affecting the robustness of infection prevention.

‘Upsetting time’

Announcing the closure on Friday, the Department of Health said it had no choice as the welfare and safety of the residents was paramount in the ongoing pandemic.

At the time, families contacted the BBC distressed that they had not been informed about the move.

On Monday the BBC revealed there had been nine Covid-19-related deaths at the home , with a further nine residents in hospital some of whom have Covid-19.

According to the Belfast Trust, there are 62 residents currently in the home and eight more residents in hospital.

The trust has also confirmed discussions are ongoing with the potential new provider.

On Tuesday, the trust apologised for the “very difficult and upsetting time for residents and their families” and said care currently being provided in Clifton Nursing Home was safe.

“The trust is currently providing ongoing advice and has a team of senior nurses, multi-disciplinary staff and an infection prevention and control team overseeing care,” the trust said.

It’s not the first time Healthcare Ireland has stepped in to turn around a failing nursing home.

They did it in February 2020 when the Valley Nursing Home in Clogher was forced to close – and that intervention meant elderly and vulnerable people could remain in their home.

BBC News

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