Breaking: New proposal to close Westlands care home in Cookstown

Westlands residents and relatives picket at Stormont
Westlands residents and relatives picket at Stormont

A new proposal has been made to close Westlands care home in Cookstown, just 12-months after it was saved from closure.

According to a statement from Unison, “the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) approved proposals to initiate a consultation exercise to close over half of NHS Residential Care Homes in Northern Ireland”.

Of the 19 Residential Care Homes in Northern Ireland, the 10 homes identified include Westlands in Cookstown.

In April last year, then Health Minister Edwin Poots stopped the closure of the home, after a previous proposal to close it had been made.

The UNISON statement continues: “Following the consultation, recommendations on these closures will go back to the HSCB for approval and then onto the Health Minister for final approval.”

UNISON Regional Organiser, Joe McCusker said: “Today’s decision by the HSCB will come as a relief to those residents and their families not affected by the closures.

“However, for those homes that are identified for closure this will cause distress and alarm for residents in those homes knowing that they will be the last residents, while the local communities will be outraged that there will be no NHS residential care provision in their area.”

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy said: “While this is at a very early stage and will have to be opened to a 12 week consultation I am very concerned that the health trusts are trying to take another run at closing residential homes.

“The fact that the matter had been withdrawn not too long ago following public pressure seems not to have bothered the Trusts one bit.”

“I will be making contact with the Trust to determine what their approach is and what their proposals actually contain. I will also be interested to hear what steps the Trust have taken to overturn their policy of not allowing in new residents to the homes.”