THE group battling to save a council-run Cupar care home has expressed fears for its future after controversial privatisation plans fell through.
North Eden House is one of 10 local authority homes that the ruling Liberal Democrat/SNP coalition on Fife Council want to transfer to private or not-for-profit operators because they say they cannot afford to replace them.
But the tendering process has come to nothing after bids from two prospective care providers failed to meet the council’s requirements.
At a meeting of the social work and health committee on Tuesday, politicians clashed once again over the issue, with Opposition councillors failing in their bid to persuade members to explore alternative ways of funding the homes replacement programme or even consider setting up a care homes trust under the council’s auspices.
Instead, councillors agreed by eight votes to six to instruct the executive director of social work, Stephen Moore, to investigate other options for replacing the services currently provided by the council and to report back.
Following the meeting, a spokesperson for the Save North Eden group, Shirley Clarke - whose elderly father is a resident in the care home - expressed her frustration at the outcome.
“I am worried more than ever,” she said. “The administration were really confident that they would find new providers but now that’s fallen through I can’t see what option there is other than closure.
“It also concerns me that no timescale has been put on Mr Moore’s investigations.
“Residents are just being left in limbo without any idea whether they’ll be able to stay in what is, after all, their home.
“The staff have also been treated appallingly and don’t know what’s going to happen to their jobs.
“Our group is still very active and we have even discussed the idea of setting up a social enterprise, but it is an enormous task and way beyond the capability of a group such as ours.
“I’m afraid the outlook for North Eden looks even gloomier than ever.”
It was in 2008 that an all-party working group first agreed that the Kingdom’s 10 council-run facilities needed to be replaced, but with the economic downturn the administration declared that this would no longer be possible.
Despite overwhelming opposition - and, in the case of North Eden, a 4000-signature petition - the ruling group pressed ahead with their plans, promising that residents would receive the same high standards of care regardless of the care provider.
Meanwhile, until the situation is resolved the council has allocated £3 million from the capital programme budget to carry out improvements and repairs to the existing homes.