Edinburgh Labour party urges councillors to oppose care home closures
Labour councillors have been urged by the party in Edinburgh to oppose the proposed closure of five city care homes and campaign to keep care public.
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Four council-run homes – Clovenstone, Ford’s Road, Jewel House and Ferrylee – have been earmarked by health bosses for permanent closure as having buildings no longer deemed suitable for long-term care and Drumbrae is proposed to close as a care home and become a base for medical complex care.
But Edinburgh Labour’s local government committee (LGC) unanimously agreed a motion backing Unison’s campaign to save the homes and ensure the continuation of public provision of residential care.
The Edinburgh Integration Joint Board, which oversees health and social care, is due to discuss the issue today, but a decision is having to be put off until September because an impact analysis is not ready.
However the Labour motion called for a longer delay of at least three months and for officers to be instructed to bring forward a proposal which stops care homes closures and instead ensures a publicly owned and run service which takes account of current and future users, staff and trade unions.
The motion noted that in addition to the closure of the five homes, health bosses proposed changing the remaining three council-owned care homes in the city to nursing homes by adding nurses to the staff.
And it said: “This will end the council provision of residential care in Edinburgh, leaving it completely in the hands of the private and third sectors.”
It continued: “In addition to being contrary to Labour values, the LGC notes that closing the care homes would be politically disastrous for Scottish Labour in Edinburgh ahead of next year's crucial local elections.
“In the interests of care home residents, staff and the Labour movement, the LGC calls on all Labour members to actively support the aims and objectives of Unison’s campaign and calls on Edinburgh Labour to lead a public campaign calling on the Scottish Government to adequately fund Edinburgh's provision of a care system to support people in council-run care homes and provide a quality of life if they choose to stay at home.
"We call on Labour MSPs, constituency parties, affiliates and group to campaign for fair and proper funding of EIJB to allow proper investment in future care provision for our ageing population.”
Labour leader Cammy Day said he would support delaying any decision on the care homes beyond September in to allow a full public consultation.
He said: “The Labour group and the Labour party feel it’s important to consult with the wider city and we will be asking the IJB to consult with the city, and particularly the residents and their families, about any plans to close care homes.
"As care changes, with more people trying to stay in their homes and communities, we need to look at the future provision of care for older people. We also need to keep in mind how this fits into the wider strategic review and the National Care Service because that might completely change what care homes or care providers do."