Door closes on respite care centre

The Granton Road centre
The Granton Road centre
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The Granton Road Respite Service, which is used by 28 people in Edinburgh, will shut its doors in January.

The council said it was under-used and was not suitable for a 21st-century respite service, with some people struggling to gain access to all areas of the five-bedroom property.

It was also pointed out that the local authority channels more than £250,000 a year into the unit, but the 28 individuals could receive a similar package elsewhere in the community for around £100,000.

However, there will be concern among users given the upset the changing of routines can cause people with conditions such as autism.

Edinburgh’s health leader Councillor Paul Edie said that, while some had raised concerns initially about the closure, it should be seen as a positive move.

He told the Evening News: “We have a duty to seek best value, and if we can do things better for cheaper it allows us to reinvest that money elsewhere. But of course it is a balance between quality and price.

“There were one or two who raised concerns when they were informed about the closure, but we’ve been working hard to reassure them that we will have something much better for them by the end of this.”

Respite – which allows carers who are looking after their loved-one a well-earned break – is becoming increasingly important in Edinburgh.

Due to medical advances, people with complex needs are now living longer, which means many people caring for them full-time can be in their 70s or 80s, making them more in need of a break.

Cllr Edie added: “Everyone involved [at Granton Road] will receive the same amount of respite as they did before.”

As well as not being fit-for-purpose, actual take-up of the facility was disappointing. Average occupancy hovered around the 50 per cent mark, further amplifying the waste of money it was becoming for the council.

Peter Gabbitas, director of health and social care in Edinburgh – a post jointly funded by the council and NHS Lothian – said: “The house has five single bedrooms, three of which are situated on the upper floor and are not accessible to any service user with mobility difficulties.

“All current carers of service users using Granton Road have been allocated a social worker to offer support during the review, and to identify individuals’ preferred form of respite.

“During the consultation meetings there were positive views expressed at the option of having more choice over how their respite could be delivered.

“It is recognised that potential change can cause anxiety and concern.”