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