The Priory to invest £50 million in Northern Ireland expansion

The Priory Group, the UK’s leading independent provider of mental healthcare, has released more details of its ambitious growth plans for care homes for older people in Northern Ireland.

Sharon Butler, managing director of Priory Care Homes outlined plans for at least 17 homes in Northern Ireland by the end of 2012, providing around 1200 beds, 1,000 jobs and representing an investment of £50m. The homes will be in key demographic locations including Belfast, Coleraine, North Down & Ards, Craigavon and Ballymena.

The opening of the Ben Madigan care home in Belfast in 2009 marked a significant move by the Priory into the older people care home market, being only the second care home to be operated by the group.

The company is developing a range of high quality care homes offering long-term, short-term and respite nursing care for older people who are physically frail or living with dementia related disorders.

The homes will reflect the very latest research in dementia care. Dr Dan Nightingale has been appointed as Head of Dementia Care. He will be working with all the homes and staff teams to introduce exciting and pioneering ways of caring for people living with dementia built around treating people as individuals and engaging positively with them and their families.

Sharon Butler worked within the two largest care home groups, Four Seasons Health Care and Southern Cross Healthcare, before joining Island Construction as projects manager with responsibility for commissioning new care homes in Northern Ireland and England. Sharon is from Northern Ireland, where she trained as a nurse at Ards Hospital.

She said: “Northern Ireland is a key part of Priory’s ambitious expansion programme. There is a clear need for high quality care homes for older people within Northern Ireland, and that presents a perfect growth opportunity for us.

“The experience the Priory Group has in mental health, complex and long term care transfers very well into older people’s services. People are now living longer and have more complex needs and associated health issues that we have the experience to care for. We are building on our already strong and established areas of expertise and offering an even more comprehensive range of facilities for service users.”