The proposed closure of Ard Cluan care home in Londonderry is causing anger amongst residents and staff.
The care home’s operator, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), is planning to close both Ard Cluan in Londonderry and York House in Portrush with residents to be relocated to a redeveloped home in Garvagh.
PCI announced last night that they are planning to purchase the former Four Seasons care home in Garvagh and develop the facility with a £1.5 million investment.
However, their plans to relocate residents from Ard Cluan is causing serious concern, according to DUP MLA Gary Middleton.
Mr Middleton said: “I’ve been speaking to a number of Ministers and former Moderators and I’ve taken a call from Church House about the situation.
“Obviously I have expressed my disappointment that they have taken the decision to close Ard Cluan.
“There were rumours around the time frame but I’ve been told that it should be in March. I’ve said to them they need to reopen the debate with the Western Trust to look at other options in the Londonderry area for residents at Ard Cluan.
“They are close to the hospital here in Londonderry, at Altnagelvin, they are close to their GPs here in the Londonderry area and I don’t think it would be a good idea to be moving them to an area where they are a distance away from that and from their relatives.
“I proposed that the next step would be to approach the new Minister of Health, who should be appointed hopefully on Wednesday.
“I am confident another option can be found in Londonderry for the residents.
“Everybody I have been speaking to has praised the staff and the standard of care they have received at Ard Cluan. The issue is with the building itself.
“I have been bringing the serious concerns of residents and their families to the Presbyterian Church and I am confident they will listen to those concerns.
“The investment in Garvagh is certainly welcomed for that area but Ard Cluan cannot be tacked on.”
Lindsay Conway, Secretary to PCI’s Council for Social Witness - which has overall management responsibility for the Church’s six residential care homes for older people and its other services – told the Sentinel: “I understand the anger that has been expressed by residents and family and that has been listened to. I couldn’t describe to you the homeliness of Ard Cluan and you would love to repeat that but it is not possible financially. There are issues there with the stairs and the building itself.
“As soon as it is practical we are hoping we will be able to take them to the home in Garvagh so they can see the facilities.”