Angry families hit out after closure of Edinburgh care homes

Stockbridge Community Care Unit
Stockbridge Community Care Unit
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ANGRY families have slammed a charity’s move to close its care homes putting their elderly relatives’ future in doubt.

Bonnington-based Bield blamed “financial constraints” and changing care needs for its withdrawal from 12 homes – including two in Edinburgh and two more in West Lothian.

The move prompted calls for the First Minister to intervene, while elderly campaigners said the 167 residents must be looked after.

Marilyn Wright’s 93-year-old mother, Mary Jack, has lived in Bield’s 10-place Stockbridge Care Unit for nearly four years.

The former civil servant pays nearly £1,300 a month in fees to Bield – including a £500 social service contribution.

“My main concern is where my mother and others are going to go now,” said Marilyn, 62. “It’s not like there are hundreds and hundreds of care homes just waiting for people to go in.

“I think it’s quite disgusting actually. It’s also about the staff and how it affects them. The staff are absolutely fantastic and so good with the residents.

“It’s heartbreaking to receive the letter. My mother has been there for almost four years. It’ll be upsetting for her to move – it’s just come as a bolt out of the blue.”

Mrs Wright said the letter from Bield stated that families will be told whether a new care provider can be found to take over the units by December.

Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs labelled the move “worrying” and “devastating” for families.

He said the Scottish Government had repeatedly failed to address concerns of care providers, called for more care places and pledged to raise Bield’s closure with health secretary Shona Robison as “a matter of urgency.”

Unison’s Scottish organiser John Gallacher, called it a ­“disaster” and demanded the First Minister intervene and ask how Bield “got themselves into this position”.

And Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s charity director, said: “We’re concerned to hear about these closures. Studies show that poorly-planned moves are extremely stressful for older people and negatively affect their physical and mental health.”

Bosses at Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership pledged to work with Bield to “minimise” impact on residents in the Capital.

Bield’s chief executive, Brian Logan, said the move was a “last resort” and sought to reassure residents and their families, saying: “We are aware of the serious impact these changes will make to people who use our services, their families and our staff.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Raising the status of social care as a profession, and attracting and retaining the right people, is key to delivering quality care. That is why we have taken action to protect care services, including paying the Living Wage to adult care workers boosting the income of up to 40,000 people. This commitment is in place for care workers in both public and private sectors.”