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Closing Northern Irish Care Homes Could Kill Patients, Families Say

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<p>Families of elderly patients in seven&nbsp;<a data-component="auto-linked-tag" data-link-name="auto-linked-tag" href="">Northern Ireland</a>&nbsp;care homes being axed by Britain&rsquo;s biggest provider say the closure could &ldquo;kill&rdquo; their relatives because of the distress of a move.</p> <p>They have called on the private equity investor, Guy Hands, who controls Four Seasons Health Care, to meet them face to face to see the human cost of the decision that was&nbsp;<a data-component="in-body-link" data-link-name="in body link" href="">taken because the homes were loss-making.</a></p> <p>At the same time, Chris Lyttle, a member of the Alliance party in the Northern Ireland assembly, is urging the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to intervene in what he believes is emblematic of a national crisis in the care sector.</p> <p>He says the decision to shut the homes with just 12 weeks&rsquo; notice may be a sign that the private sector should not be involved in caring for &ldquo;the most vulnerable people in our society&rdquo;.</p> <p>Iris Walker, whose 77-year-old husband, Jimmy, is resident in the Oakridge care home in Ballynahinch, County Down, described the decision as an &ldquo;absolute outrage&rdquo;. People who have have come to the end stages of their life should be treated with &ldquo;dignity and care&rdquo; and not faced with eviction, she said.</p>