Foyleville closure heartbreak

The Western Health and Social Care Trust was yesterday accused of "completely disregarding" the needs and desires of the five remaining residents in Foyleville Nursing Home after it was announced the home would close in just three weeks' time.

Damien McShane, whose elderly mother is a resident of the Derry home, said the news had come as a 'devastating blow' to all concerned and described the situation now faced by the residents as 'heartbreaking'.

"One of the older residents, who has been there more than 20 years, asked me if he gave them (the Trust) all the money he had in the world, would they let him stay? To see a man in his 80s ask such a question just breaks your heart."

Last year the Trust had said they would reassess the viability of the home on a yearly basis but announced they would take no new residents in. It had been hoped the home would be allowed to wind down naturally - however Mr McShane said yesterday's announcement came 'like a bolt out of the blue'.

"It was exceptionally clinical - how they did it - with no thought to what a huge upheaval this will be for those residents who are still there. They don't care that a move at this stage will be detrimental to their health.

"In fact I would say that as regards the Western Health and Social Care Trust, two words should be removed from their title - Care and Trust."

Foyle MP Mark Durkan described yesterday's announcement as a "sorry outcome" while Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney said he was disappointed by the news.

People Before Profit, who were represented by Eamonn McCann in the recent Westminster Elections added that the announcement was just one of many which will follow on the back of 128 million worth of spending cuts announced by the Treasury yesterday morning.

Alan Corry Finn, Executive Director of Nursing and Director of Primary Care and Older Peoples Services with the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said the decision to close the centre had been made in consultation with residents, their families and staff.

He said: "Alternative accommodation has been identified for the existing residents.

Change 'difficult'

"We are aware that change of this nature is difficult for residents and staff and we are committed to making the transition happen as sensitively as possible for all concerned. The Trust is committed to transferring some staff to settle residents in their new home."