Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Member for Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend, has welcomed the news that the Westlands Care Home in Cookstown is to remain open, following a lengthy fight with the Health Minister.
Mrs Overend said, “I am absolutely delighted to hear that the Westlands Care Home, in Cookstown, is to remain open. The residents, their families, and their representatives have fought so hard for months to convince the Health Minister of the merits of keeping the facility open, and I am glad to see that he has finally realised that retaining the Westlands Care Home is the best possible outcome for those people who call it home.
“I visited the Westlands Care Home and discussed the fears and anxieties that the residents had, and which they have continued to have since the Minister first made the announcement that it could be closing, and that the residents would have to find alternative accommodation. Although the Minister has now changed his mind, he has left the residents of the home, and their families in limbo for months, which only added further pressure, during this already stressful ordeal.”
Mrs Overend continued, “I would like to commend the work of Cookstown O4O group, including Margaret Gilbert MBE, who have campaigned tirelessly for the retention of services at Westlands. It was Cookstown O4O who launched a petition which was circulated around the Mid-Ulster area, and which secured over 5,000 signatures in only 12 days. I was honoured to present that petition to the Assembly last year, and was disappointed when the Minister refused to meet the group.
“Now that Minister Poots has seen fit to keep Westlands Care Home open, the residents can rest easy, knowing that they will not have to leave the place where they live; that they will not be forced to go out and find another home; and that they will not have to worry about this again.
“The question remains whether new residents will be allowed to move into the home, and I will seek clarification from the Minister on this point.”