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Administrator appointed for three NI care homes

An administrator has been appointed for three care homes in Northern Ireland.

Peter Allen from Deloitte has been appointed for Care Circles Ltd and Slemish Homes Ltd, which are part of the Care Circle Group.

The homes owned by the companies are Braefield in Connor, Slemish in Ballymena and Kingsway in Dunmurry and the Fairfields home in Cookstown.

At present, no job losses are planned, with Mr Allen looking for a buyer for the homes.

310
The number of staff employed by the three care homes.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Allen said the businesses have been placed into administration to enable continued trading.

“All necessary steps have been taken to ensure the existing standard of care remains in place at the homes,” said Mr Allen.

“We are operating closely with the Regulator and the Trusts and we will be meeting residents and their families to explain the purpose of the administration and to provide comfort that there will be no material difference in how the homes operate.”

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Increase in civil service sickness levels ‘disappointing’ - Finance Minister

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said the increase in sickness absence in the Northern Ireland Civil Service is “disappointing”.

He was reacting to figures released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) that showed almost one day extra on average taken as sick days by workers at a cost of more than £30m in lost production in 2015/2016.

He added it was particularly disappointing as there had been a downward trend for a number of years.

“While it is encouraging to note that half of our staff had no recorded periods of sickness absence during 2015/16, reducing sick absence must remain a priority for departments and it is vital that work on this area continues and, where necessary, intensifies,” he said in a statement.

The Chair of Stormont's Finance Committee, Emma Pengelly MLA, also said it was disappointing that Northern Ireland civil servants were “underperforming compared to the rest of the United Kingdom”.

“Unfortunately we have seen a small rise in terms of this year’s results. I think it’s important we keep looking at this issue and that this does not become a trend,” she said.

Ulster Unionist Finance Spokesperson, Philip Smith MLA, has said the Northern Ireland Executive needs to get to grips with the worsening levels of sickness absence.

“Long-term absence in the NICS, particularly due to mental ill-health reasons, is now a key area requiring attention,” he said.

“It is absolutely imperative that as an employer the Northern Ireland Civil Service is able to support the mental wellbeing of its workers, but also quickly facilitate their return to work when possible.”

However union representatives say the Executive needs to take responsibility for the pressure on workers.

“What we want to see is a workforce that is healthy, able to go to work and do their job,” Bumper Graham, from NIPSA said.

“But they are being denied that opportunity due to the inadequacy of the Northern Ireland Executive in getting the proper funding so that we can deliver our public services in Northern Ireland.

“If we were properly funded then that would ease the pressure and tension on staff and that would be a win-win for everybody.”

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