Campaigner hits out at SNP over care home closures
Scottish Government criticised for its ‘failure to prioritise older people’s care’
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.
Bield property Finavon Court care home in Glenrothes.
MSP Anas Sanwar.