Shannagh Nursing Home: Western Health Trust 'regrets' closure

Shannagh Private Nursing Home Shannagh Nursing Home currently cares for 15 patients, but has been operating at a reduced capacity for a number of months

The Western Health Trust has said it regrets the closure of a privately-owned care home in Country Fermanagh.

Shannagh Nursing Home in Belleek is expected to close at the end of this month with the loss of 40 jobs. Its 15 residents will have to move out.

The owner said he was "devastated" but the business was no longer sustainable.

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott called on the trust to step in, but it said it would help its patients who live in the home to find alternative accommodation.

Reduced capacity

Start Quote

The trust wishes to acknowledge the long years of dedication and service provision to older people by Mr Tunney and his staff which has been greatly appreciated by residents, families and the local community”

End Quote Western Health Trust Statement

The first of the remaining 15 residents in the 30-bed home began to move out on Tuesday.

Some residents are moving to homes in Enniskillen, which is 25 miles away and a 45-minute journey for families to go and visit their relatives.

Others from the Ballyshannon area of County Donegal are moving to homes in the Republic of Ireland.

The home has been operating at a reduced capacity for several months.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Elliott called on the trust to intervene and said he hoped the home could still be saved.

"I believe the Western Trust should be looking at this case and recognising that it cannot afford to let the home close," he said.

"Given the home is privately run, the owner simply could not be expected to continue operating at a loss, which is why I believe the Western Trust should intervene to see what additional support it might be able to offer, even on a short-term basis.

"I believe every possible option should be explored in order to protect its existing residents and staff."

'Challenges'

Owner Hugh Tunney said the home would stay open until suitable accommodation is found for all of their remaining residents.

He attributed the closure to a lack of patient admissions from the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Mr Tunney said all health trusts in Northern Ireland were operating a policy by which increasing numbers of elderly people are cared for in their own home, rather than being admitted to residential care.

A spokesperson for the Western Health Trust said: "The trust very much regrets that the decision to close the home had to be taken but recognises the challenges that nursing home providers face.

"The trust wishes to acknowledge the long years of dedication and service provision to older people by Mr Tunney and his staff which has been greatly appreciated by residents, families and the local community.

"In response to this decision trust staff will work in partnership with Mr Tunney to support the number of trust's clients within the home and their families through the transition to suitable alternative accommodation."

'Distressed'

The purpose-built home opened in 1992 and has been run as a family business for the past 21 years, offering both short and long-term residential care.

The owner said many people became distressed when he informed staff, residents and relatives of the closure.

In a statement to the Fermanagh Herald newspaper, Mr Tunney said: "Our primary objective is to provide the highest standard of care to the residents and therefore the home will continue to operate until suitable alternative accommodation is found for each one of them.

"Residents, relatives and staff have been notified and will be kept fully informed. The intention is to manage the home to ensure that residents incur minimal disruption.

"Lines of communication have been opened with the relevant regularity authorities and care reviews for the residents are a priority," he added.

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