Calls for a re-think on care home plans

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AN urgent re-think on the future provision of Fife’s care homes for the elderly has been called for.

Fife Council has announced that only two private companies submitted tenders to build new facilities following its decision in February to close all 10 of the Kingdom’s current homes.

After inviting submissions from private or not-for-profit organisations, an evaluation panel this week deemed the only two applications received as not being up to the council’s requirements.

The decision taken by the authority to close its care homes has been a controversial one, although it claims the current economic climate and the levels of refurbishment needed are huge factors.

Levenmouth’s independent councillor, Andrew Rodger, says it’s now time for the authority to take its plans back to the drawing board.

He said: “The policy that the administration is trying to drive forward has failed.

“We need to look after the elderly in Fife and all the council needs to do to come up with the cash for its homes is to extend its capital budget by two years.

“That will release £30m to £40m.

“There was a political agenda to get these homes into the private sector.

“Both the council and the private sector do a good job with their care, but the council should be looking instead at some way that it can compete.”

Repairs are still being made in homes, with Methilhaven recently under going a refurbishment.

The leader of Fife Council, Councillor Peter Grant, said the Kingdom’s homes are “coming to the end of their life” but will still be up to standard for some time.

He also confirmed there had been “not as much interest” as the authority had expected with the formal offer process.

He said: “It’s going to be a longer timescale, so what we have to do in the meantime is make sure in addition to the couple of million pounds for care and maintenance of the homes already set aside we are going to need additional resources.

“Simply allowing the homes to fall into serious disrepair will not be an option.”

An assurance has been given by the council that no homes will close before new accommodation is created.

Cllr Rodger added: “The council is now going to have to go and have a look at something else.”