Cam­paigner hits out at SNP over care home clo­sures

Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment crit­i­cised for its ‘fail­ure to pri­ori­tise older peo­ple’s care’

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - GARETH MCPHER­SON PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

There are 25 fewer care homes in Tay­side and Fife than a decade ago despite Scot­land’s age­ing pop­u­la­tion, a new re­port re­veals.

A cam­paigner against the Bield clo­sures, which af­fects res­i­dents in the king­dom, said the fig­ures are a “sad re­flec­tion” of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to older peo­ple’s care.

The SNP said while care homes are “still im­por­tant”, the data re­flects their in­vest­ment in help­ing peo­ple to live in their own homes for longer.

There are now 195 care homes for adults in Tay­side and Fife, com­pared with 220 in 2007.

The number of reg­is­tered places has dropped over that pe­riod in Dundee, An­gus and Perthshire, while they have gone up in Fife, ac­cord­ing to NHS Scot­land’s care home cen­sus.

Across Scot­land, the number of care homes has fallen 21%, with reg­is­tered places also down.

Laura Owens has been cam­paign­ing against clo­sures by the provider Bield, which an­nounced in Oc­to­ber it was shut­ting 12 of its prop­er­ties in Scot­land, in­clud­ing three in Fife.

“The re­duc­tion in care home places is a sad re­flec­tion of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to pri­ori­tise older peo­ple’s care,” she said.

“The fact re­mains that peo­ple are liv­ing longer and there­fore in need of care home place­ments.”

Anas Sar­war, the Labour MSP, said the prob­lems with de­layed dis­charge in hos­pi­tals are linked with the “huge level of care home clo­sures”.

“Labour think it is time to ex­am­ine how to en­sure so­cial care works for us all in the way the NHS does – not re­liant on the mar­ket but guar­an­teed to be there when peo­ple need it,” he added.

Adam Stachura, from Age Scot­land, said the fig­ures are a “symp­tom” of the “im­mense pres­sure” that so­cial care in Scot­land is un­der.

He said the age­ing pop­u­la­tion means high qual­ity ser­vices for the el­derly are more of a pri­or­ity than ever.

“This doesn’t just mean care home places, but en­sur­ing quick ac­cess to so­cial care at home so that peo­ple are able to live in­de­pen­dently in their own com­mu­nity for as long as they pos­si­bly can,” he said.

Pic­ture: Ge­orge Mcluskie Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Bield prop­erty Fi­navon Court care home in Glen­rothes.

MSP Anas San­war.

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