Edinburgh MP calls for rethink of council plans to close five care homes and cut residential places

A city MP is calling for a rethink on plans to close five Edinburgh care homes, reducing the number of residential places in the Capital by more than 200.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 4:55 am

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The city council says four of its homes – Fords Road, Clovenstone, Jewel House and Ferrylee – have buildings which are no longer suitable and wants to switch a fifth, Drumbrae, from a care home to a medical facility for complex clinical care.

But Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said she was writing to the council, the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian, calling for reconsideration of the proposals.

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Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine
Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine

She said: “At a time when we’ve got an ageing society the care system is under a lot of pressure and we need more capacity not less.

“Home care is not practical for a lot of people. I have constituents who have been put in an intolerable position by this.”

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She said the handling of the closure plans so far had been “shambolic”. Staff were called to simultaneous meetings in each of the care homes without warning to be told of the closures and unions were not consulted. The shock news was conveyed to relatives in letters said the closures would be phased but gave no timescale.

The said families would be offered a choice on "onward accommodation", which might be in one of the care homes that EHSCP will continue to manage, or another care home in the city.

But Ms Jardine said families had been “stunned” by the closure proposals. “They don’t really know what’s happening. People are unhappy with the way this has been communicated and the level of information about what is going to happen.”

And she said she was also worried about the effect on residents. "After everything people have been through in care homes with the worry about Covid and the care home deaths, it is unbelievable there is now even more they're having to face. They have been out through the wringer in the last year and now this is something else.

"The council needs to reconsider what they're doing and talk more to the families.”

Ms Jardine said the council’s move also followed the decision by charity Sight Scotland to close its Braeside home in Edinburgh because of “unsustainable financial losses”.

“This is not an isolated problem. It needs the health board, the council and most importantly the Scottish Government to look at the system. If this is going to be a trend, we need the government to look at a strategy.”

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said it aimed to ensure the right care, at the right time and in the right place for those who need it.

“As part of our review into bed-based care, we have identified four care homes that, from an environmental perspective, have surpassed their design life expectancy and in which we cannot provide care for people with more complex care needs. Although our colleagues continue to provide an excellent level of care within the homes, some of the buildings do not meet the Care Inspectorate design guidance for building better homes.”

She said the proposal was to move residents from the affected care homes into “new environments” better designed for their function and which would continue to meet their needs.

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