Edinburgh's care crisis: petition launched to stop closure of Drumbrae care home amid fears it would make visiting harder

A petition has been launched against plans to change the use of Edinburgh’s Drumbrae care home, claiming the move would be a blow to the community and could mean residents forced to relocate will be too far away for easy visiting.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:55 am

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The council is proposing to close five of its care homes and rehouse residents elsewhere. Four of the buildings are said no longer to be suitable and would close completely, while Drumbrae would cease operating as a care home and become a medically-led unit for people requiring complex clinical care.

Staff were told of the proposals at meetings last week and unions are opposing the closures.

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Drumbrae care home opened in 2013 on the site of the former Drumbrae Primary School    Picture: Ian Georgeson
Drumbrae care home opened in 2013 on the site of the former Drumbrae Primary School Picture: Ian Georgeson

Liam Stewart, who launched the Drumbrae petition, said he lived in the area and knew people with relatives in the home as well people who worked there.

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"It’s an important part of the community and plays such an important role for so many,” he said.

"A lot of these people will have elderly family members themselves and if someone in the area has put their family member in the home so they can still visit and they get moved 40 minutes or an hour further away then all of a sudden that connection breaks down and that’s not good for the health of the person in the home or the relative trying to get there.”

He said asking people to travel up to an hour longer to visit their family member in a different home was “unjust, unethical and unacceptable”.

The 60-bed Drumbrae care home opened in 2013 on the site of the former Drumbrae Primary School, which closed in 2010.

Mr Stewart said the community was hurt by the loss of the school, but rallied round. "When they closed the school the justification was it was not at its capacity and the care home was going to provide the necessary care for the elderly people of the community.”

The prospect of the home closing in its current from meant an uncertain for both the residents and the staff.

Mr Sewart said: “We’re just coming out of a massive global pandemic, these care workers have worked tirelessly throughout the whole thing, risking their lives, yet they could forcibly be put out of a job.”

The other four homes proposed for closure are Fords Road, Clovenstone, Jewel House and Ferrylee.

A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership 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 16 months. As part of our strategic plan we are continually reviewing the care we provide across all our services to make sure that we provide the right care, at the right time and in the right place for those who need it.

“At their meeting on 22 June, the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board will consider a proposal to move Drumbrae residents into a new care home, to allow us to repurpose Drumbrae from a care home to a care facility delivering hospital-based complex clinical care. Should this proposal be approved, residents would be moved into new environments that are better designed for their function, and can continue to meet residents’ needs.”

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