Care home staff left in tears af­ter they were told of clo­sure, says union leader

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ac­cord­ing to John Gal­lacher, head bar­gain­ing for Uni­son Scot­land.

“I was there when staff in Big­gar were told – peo­ple were cry­ing, it was a dif­fi­cult thing to hear,” he said. “It came as a to­tal shock to staff, they are dev­as­tated.”

“The op­tions for re­de­ploy­ment are vir­tu­ally zero, and the re­dun­dancy pol­icy is not gen­er­ous. From a staff point of view the prospects are not good. But many of them were up­set about the im­pact on the res­i­dents.”

Many res­i­dents of Bield homes are in their 90s, he said, and there are fears for their health. “I fear some will die be­cause of the shock of the change in life cir­cum­stances. Oth­ers are likely to go into nurs­ing homes, which will be more ex­pen­sive than it was to keep them in a care home.”

Mr Gal­lacher de­scribes the Bield clo­sure as a paradigm shift for the char­ity.

He added: “The com­bined deficit of the


AYes­ter­day’s Her­ald re­ports on the clo­sures. homes is only around £300,000. I think they could have found ways to save that with­out cut­ting front­line ser­vices. But they just want to exit the sec­tor com­pletely.”

He warned the char­ity’s pro­posed fu­ture model would leave coun­cils to pick up the pieces.

He said: “Bield want to rent ac­com­mo­da­tion to older peo­ple, charg­ing them for a range of op­tions such as a war­den, per­sonal care ser­vice, or meal ser­vice, but on a pri­vate ba­sis. There will be no re­la­tion­ship to the lo­cal author­ity, and there will be no in­ten­sively staffed back up. Res­i­dents who need that kind of sup­port will have to have it pro­vided by the lo­cal author­ity home­care ser­vice.”

Mr Gal­lacher said the de­ci­sion was hard to ex­plain with de­mand for care ris­ing. He said: “This sim­ply shouldn’t hap­pen when de­mo­graph­ics are driv­ing an in­sa­tiable de­mand for care ser­vices. It is ap­palling that a third party provider can walk off the stage vir­tu­ally unan­nounced leav­ing the pub­lic sec­tor to pick up the bill.”

How­ever, he said coun­cils were partly to blame, and said Uni­son would seek a so­lu­tion with the coun­cils’ um­brella body Cosla and the Scot­tish Govern­ment.

“Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have com­mis­sioned ser­vices on the cheap for a long time and it is com­ing home to roost,” he added.

A spokesman for Cosla said: “This de­ci­sion has been taken by the provider be­cause of the long-term un­sus­tain­able na­ture of the busi­ness model. Lo­cal part­ner­ships are con­sid­er­ing how to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of high-qual­ity care for res­i­dents.”

A na­tional contin­gency plan­ning group, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of providers, care in­spec­tors and lo­cal health and so­cial care boards would meet to look at how to man­age the con­se­quences of Bield’s de­ci­sion, he said.

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