A black day for families fighting to save Bonnybridge care home

Kevin and Laura Owens, who have been at the heart of a nationwide campaign to prevent property firm Bield from axeing 12 care homes across Scotland.
Kevin and Laura Owens, who have been at the heart of a nationwide campaign to prevent property firm Bield from axeing 12 care homes across Scotland.

Care home operator Bield stands accused of “treating residents like bags of coal”, by a Bonnybridge gran forced to quit the Thornton Gardens amenity that was her home.

Local woman Laura Owens has led a campaign across Scotland to try and reverse Bield’s decision to axe its loss-making care homes, but this weekend says she is “disgusted” the Bonnybridge closure is going ahead.

She said: “Having to tell my gran that we tried out best but failed to keep her there was horrible, but she’s grateful for everything that everyone has done - including two very special councillors, Jim Blackwood and Billy Buchanan.

“Thankyou for everything you have done to help”.

It’s understood staff at the home are among the 200 across the country set to be made redundant.

Mrs Owens added: “Relatives of Bield care homes have been fighting since October to get someone to reverse the decision, but I fear my gran may be onto something when saying ‘they’ don’t care!

“My gran may have had to move on, but the battle is certainly not over.

“Save Our Bield will continue to fight to keep all 12 Bield care homes open and will demand that this happens now”.

She added: “There are no words to describe the contempt I have for the ‘decision makers’.

“God forbid they ever have to see their relatives go through what over 100 Bield residents have had to go through. It’s reprehensible”.

Meanwhile protestors say they’re still waiting for a health secretary Shona Robison - previously accused of fobbing them off with “generic letters” - to arrange a meeting.

Mrs Owens complains that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon agreed at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, January 18, that Ms Robison would meet with the campaigners to discuss the current situation.

She said: “Bield have said that they have an overall annual deficit of £315,000 affecting all 12 care homes around the country.

“The Scottish Government are in a position to plug this funding gap but have refused to do so.

“The amount of money required to save our relatives from further distress has been described by many as ‘peanuts’

“We have also argued that in the instance that Bield are determined to walk away and abandon their responsibilities, that local authorities should take over the running of the care homes.

“After all, they have been left with the job of re-housing these people anyway.

“They have been left to pick up the pieces despite huge attacks to their budgets and a serious shortage of available care placements in our communities”.

Joe McElholm, Falkirk Council’s Head of Social Work Adult Services said: “Our main priority is to continue to work with residents and their families to find alternative care provision.

“Many residents have now found new placements and we are supporting them through the transition period.

“We will continue to support the remaining residents to plan their future care and work alongside Bield to ensure that concerns are addressed and the best possible outcomes are found for each resident.”