Campaigners tell health secretary she must act on care home closures

Neil Findlay MSP.
Neil Findlay MSP.

Members of the Save Our Bield campaign have told health secretary Shona Robison she has a moral responsibility to halt care home closures.

Property firm Bield’s Bonnybridge care home has already been shut down, but Laura Owens, the local woman who launched the bid to stop the company axeing 12 homes across the country, has vowed to fight on.

She wants both to halt further closures and if possible to reverse those which have already taken place.

The campaign’s basic argument is that to force the relocation of long term elderly care home residents on the grounds of arguably minimal business losses is inhumane.

The Bield debacle is also predicted set to be the forerunner of further closures, and to provide a precedent for other operators unable to make what they might see as acceptable profits from care.

After several failed attempts to make their case directly to the Scottish Government drew a blank Mrs Owens and fellow members of Save Our Bield this month managed to secure a meeting with Ms Robison.

Also present was Labour MSP Neil Findlay, a strong supporter of the campaign, who later commented: “The campaigners led by Laura Owens were fantastic.

“They left Ms Robison in no doubt that they believed the Government have a duty to intervene to prevent the eviction of 160 vulnerable, elderly people.

“Bield have acted appallingly and this situation shows the state of social care in Scotland - it’s a sector driven by the interests of money, not the interests of older people, our loved ones, and that is tragic”.

Bield has said it has no option but to close its loss-making homes, and that it is making every effort to relocate residents to suitable alternative accommodation.