Plans to close five Edinburgh care homes are ‘wrong’, warn critics

Pressure group, Another Edinburgh is Possible (AEIP), is hosting a public meeting to try to save five council-run care homes from closure.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 12:40 pm

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In June, Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) announced plans to completely shut Ford’s Road, Clovenstone, Jewel House and Ferrylee homes. Plans to change the fifth home, Drumbrae, from a care home to providing hospital-based complex clinical care were also revealed.

The proposals will mean a reduction of 211 residential care places, potential loss of jobs and have been met with opposition from care unions Unison, Unite and local pressure group AEIP.

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Fords Road Care home Picture: Ian Georgeson.

The public meeting, which will take place tonight (Thursday) will make the case for keeping the care homes open.

Concerns about how these plans will impact Edinburgh’s aging population and the way the announcements were handled will be raised.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Pete Cannell for AEIP, voiced his concerns about what the closure means for residents.

He said: “The five homes slated for closure are quite simply the homes of the residents. Closure would mean a huge upheaval in their lives. And yet the proposals for closure were made public with no consultation with residents, their families or the unions that represent the care workers. The first that anyone knew was when workers were summoned to meetings at short notice. This is no way to run a care service.”

Members of Unite the union and campaign group Another Edinburgh is Possible demonstrate outside Ferrylee care home as Unite's Brian Robertson (seated) presents their case to the board.

Representatives from Unison will also speak at tomorrow’s event, the trade union previously launched an online petition against the care home closures that more than 2000 people have now signed.

Unison’s Edinburgh city branch secretary Tom Connolly said: “Closing four care homes, and changing the role of another, without proper and meaningful consultation is wrong. It is devastating for the residents. It’s also insensitive to staff who have put the health and wellbeing of care residents before themselves and their families, throughout this pandemic. Caring for our vulnerable elderly is a vital job, care homes are essential and care staff deserve support from all of us.”

Public health consultant Professor Allyson Pollock, Nick Kempe and formerly Glasgow City Council’s Head of Service for Older People will also lend their support to keeping the care homes open at Thursday’s meeting.

A spokesperson for the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board said:

“We’re committed to ensuring we give the right support to those in Edinburgh who are unable to live at home and we recognise the incredible care and hard work our care home staff have provided over this past 17 months. As part of our strategic plan we are continually reviewing the care we provide across all our services, including our bed based services, to make sure that we provide 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 EHSCP 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.

“At the board meeting on 22 June, the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board requested more information to inform the potential decision to move residents from four EHSCP care homes into new environments that are better designed for their function and can continue to meet residents’ needs. No decisions have been made and it will be discussed again at the meeting on 17 August.”

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