Campaigners on care homes - ‘we shall not be moved’

Campaigner Ian Sloan outside Alan McLure House in  Glenrothes
Campaigner Ian Sloan outside Alan McLure House in Glenrothes

ANTI-care home privatisation campaigners have warned that they may refuse to move their loved ones to proposed new facilities, reports MIKE DELANEY.

And they will also consider legal action to block the controversial policy being pursued by Fife Council.

The Glenrothes branch of the Save Our Homes campaign - which includes relatives of residents in South Parks House and Alan McLure House - has set-out its stall in a letter to Rona Laing, the head of services for older people at the local authority.

In the letter, written by Hazel Gordon, who speaks for the South Parks relatives, but supported by her Alan McLure counterpart Ian Sloan, she said: “It is interesting to hear that you are hoping to have the procurement process for new care homes starting immediately by seeking formal interest from the private and/or not for profit sector and having returns from interested parties by September.

“With the current dilemma regarding Southern Cross and the financial difficulties of Four Seasons, I would think it would make more financial sense for companies wishing to expand to express interest in buying up these loss-making companies at bargain prices. Indeed some may be worth purchasing by the council.

“It goes without saying that the current situation is very distressing for the relatives, especially when Nicola Sturgeon (health secretary and deputy First Minister), is working so hard to ensure that the Southern Cross residents are not displaced from their current homes and away from their carers.

“Here, Fife Council is going ahead with the displacement of its residents and you and the current administration seems to think this is perfectly all right.

“It is even worse when we know what an excellent service the council is running and we hear Nicola Sturgeon emphasising that everyone needs to listen to relatives.

“It may be that it is timely for you to share with those companies who might be considering tendering for the replacement programme, that should they be successful, the relatives group will not necessarily be moving their family members from their current homes, to any particular home designated by the council. We will not be bullied and will maintain our right to choose a home with management and staff we can trust and one which has an excellent record of providing care”.

In response, Ms Laing commented: “Good communication about the changes we are making to services for older people is a priority for me and I will continue to respond to any relatives who raise concerns so that we can address these and reassure them.

“We have issued our second newsletter to staff, residents and their families which will keep them up-dated on recent developments and ensures regular contact with everyone involved in the process.”

Social work chief, Tim Brett, added: “The council took the decision in February to change the way we deliver residential care in the future and we are progressing with our plans.

“It’s widely acknowledged that radical reform is needed in the public sector and we have to start fulfilling our duties in new ways.

“But it will still be our duty to safeguard the wellbeing of communities and individuals and we will continue to work with care providers – as we do now – to make sure the best possible care is available to the elderly and vulnerable in Fife.”