It’s been revealed that a local residential care home - due to close one of its units next month putting some 40 jobs at risk - is at the centre of a police investigation.
This week, it emerged that the St Oliver’s Unit at Nazareth House Care Home on Bishop Street is to close and some residents transferred to another unit in the facility.
The exact nature of the PSNI investigation remains confidential. A police spokesman said: “The PSNI has conducted an investigation into allegations of inappropriate care at a home in Derry. The investigation is in the latter stages.”
The Western Health Trust (WHSCT) also confirmed that, after being made aware of the probe, it halted referrals to the home.
A WHSCT spokesman said: “The Trust can confirm that placements in Nazareth House are currently suspended pending the conclusion of an investigation into care practices.”
Meanwhile, relatives of residents say they are being “left in the dark” about the closure plans.
The daughter of one elderly resident said she was “devastated” at the news.
Dara Doherty’s 82 year old father, Larry - a former chief photographer with the ‘Derry Journal’ - has been living in Nazareth House for two and a half years. “I visited daddy as normal and he told me the unit was closing,” she revealed. “I went to see the manager and she said it was true - that was how I found out which was very upsetting.”
Ms Doherty said she had been told it was unlikely her father would be moved to another unit at Bishop Street because of the care he requires.
“We haven’t been told where he is going,” she said. “I was told I would have to look round at other places.”
In a statement, the Sisters of Nazareth confirmed moves to “consolidate the operation of their residential care facilities in Bishop Street, Derry, over the course of the coming month”.
The statement added: “We will transfer the small number of residents who currently reside in St Oliver’s care unit to the Holy Family care unit, which is situated on the same site. In light of our decision to consolidate our residential services we will be reviewing our current staffing requirements.
“We will ensure that we fully brief all of our current employees as we move forward with this process. We would also like to reassure the family members of the residents that remain at St Oliver’s that their programme of care will be unaffected by the move.”