Shock care homes closure sparks new calls for urgent action

Save Our Bield protestors, including Bonnybridge councillor (now Provost) Billy Buchanan took their concerns to the Scottish Parliament last year, along with a petition.
Save Our Bield protestors, including Bonnybridge councillor (now Provost) Billy Buchanan took their concerns to the Scottish Parliament last year, along with a petition.

Older people’s charity Age Scotland is demanding urgent action to protect vulnerable residents after the latest closure of a Scottish care home company.

The move comes in the wake of the controversial closure of care homes run by Bield, which prompted the launch of a national campaign by Bonnybridge resident Laura Owens.

After persistent lobbying the group gained a meeting with the then health secretary, Shona Robison, but failed to gain any commitment to action to stem the crisis.

Now Bertinaley Care Limited, which owns homes in Hamilton, Largs, Dundee and Surrey, has been forced to shut its Helenslea House in Dundee, citing cost and decline in resident numbers as the cause.

Age Scotland says: “This comes days after a new report that showed over the last ten years, the number of places in Scottish care homes has decreased by 21 per cent”.

The charity is urging providers, agencies, local authorities and the Care Inspectorate to work together to prevent future closures and ensure a smooth transition for the Dundee care home residents affected.

One of the key threats to older people prompted by care home closures highlighted by the Bonnybridge campaign was the devastating effect of relocation on elderly people.

Delia Henry, Age Scotland’s Charity Director, said: “Any care home closure will have a serious impact on the health of vulnerable residents and moving them could even put their lives at risk.

“Poorly planned moves are extremely stressful for older people and can be extremely detrimental to their physical and mental health.

“We hope that Bertinaley Care is working with local authorities and social workers to protect its residents and their families during this stressful transition.

“This announcement is yet another warning bell highlighting this worsening issue.

“As Scotland’s population ages at an alarming rate, the pressure to deliver high quality services for older people is growing.

“If we continue to be plagued with the same issues and no solution – this will only worsen the quality of life and care for older people in Scotland.”

“We urge councils, the Scottish Government and providers to work together to mitigate similar issues moving forward. With a majority of care home places provided by the private sector, there is always a risk that they will be affected by financial difficulties or other emergencies”.

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