Edinburgh care homes proposed for closure should be refurbished or replaced, says MSP

Four Edinburgh care homes earmarked for closure because they are not up to standard should be either refurbished or replaced, Lothian Labour MSP Sarah Boyack has said.

Saturday, 2nd October 2021, 4:55 am

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Health officials in the Capital have carried out a review of care which proposes the four homes – Clovenstone, Fords Road, Ferrylee and Jewel House – should close permanently because the buildings are no longer suitable. Current residents would be offered places in other council-run homes and future provision would focus on care in people's own homes.

Edinburgh' s Integratation Joint Board (IJB), which oversees health and social care, has already agreed a fifth home, Drumbrae, will close as a care home and become an NHS-run critical care assessment unit.

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Jewel House care home in Bingham Crescent is one of those earmarked for closure

Ms Boyack said: "We urgently need a proper consultation to deliver the care we need in Edinburgh for our growing and ageing population.

"Closing council care homes would effectively privatise care in the city, see jobs bring lost and remove choices from our constituents.

"If the care homes that are earmarked for closure are not up to standard, there only two plausible solutions: the council must either refurbish them or build new replacement homes. Care at home needs investment too, but it cannot address there needs of those who will need a care home in the future."

And she said there were still questions to be answered about Drumbrae. "What is the future for existing residents? Why is a mixed care and nursing option not being examined?”

Plans to close Drumbrae as a care home and turn it into a critical care assessment unit have already been approved

Ms Boyack said the Scottish Government had to invest in adult social care and provide local authorities with the funding they needed to do their job of designing the care people required.

She said: "The National Care Service must be an opportunity to rethink the existing model, reform our system and to ensure national terms and conditions, with £15 an hour pay for our care workers."

Fellow Lothian Labour MSP Foysol Choudhury also spoke out against the proposed closures and has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament voicing concern about the move and calling on the government to fully fund the care of old people.

He said: “I fully support the trade unions and service users in opposing the closure of council care homes in Edinburgh.

“What is shocking is that only Labour MSPs were willing to support my motion in the Scottish Parliament. Do Edinburgh MSPs not care about cuts and closures being inflicted on care home residents? Where are the human rights for the existing users and their families?”

And he added: “This proposal raises questions about how the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board was set up, as there is no democratic control over decision making. Edinburgh Council and Lothian health board have no say in the decision of EIJB.”

The review highlighted an imbalance in the different types of residential care currently provided in Edinburgh and proposed a reorganisation which would reduce the number of “complex critical care” beds, increase “intermediate care” beds and, following the proposed care home closures, turn the remaining care homes from residential homes into nursing homes, while increasing care at home.

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