Three thousand five hundred workers and seventeen hundred vulnerable and elderly persons in Northern Ireland face threat as company enters administration
Questions must be asked about role of private sector in the provision of social care and how the NHS here became so dependent on one company in particular
Unite Regional Officer, Kevin McAdam, with special responsibility for his union’s membership in the health and social care sectors, demanded urgent intervention by the Department of Health to take over the operation of fifty-five nursing homes across Northern Ireland in light of news that owners, Four Seasons, had collapsed into administration.
“The news that Four Seasons has entered administration casts huge uncertainties over the future of fifty-five nursing homes that this company operates in Northern Ireland. Approximately three and a half thousand staff work in these homes who will be left fearful for their job security. More than seventeen hundred vulnerable and older clients, and their families, will also be left under a cloud of uncertainty about the future of their care provision.
“The collapse of Four Seasons is only the latest instance of private sector failure in our public services; most particularly in the provision and quality of social care. While many will be left rightfully questioning why Northern Ireland’s social care system has been allowed to become so dependent on one provider, the more important question is really why anyone thought that the private sector had any positive role to play in the provision of social care in the first place.
“Despite the mammoth difficulties involved, the Department of Health has been left with the responsibility for these care homes, the staff and the clients. The Department must intervene and nationalise these nursing homes so as to operate them as an integral part of our health and social care service”, Mr McAdam concluded.