Socialist Worker

Fight to keep Scottish care homes open

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2583

Care home residents face eviction

Care home residents face eviction


Instead of looking forward to Christmas with their families, elderly residents of Scottish care charity Bield have been issued an eviction notice.

Now the families demand that the Scottish National Party (SNP) government intervenes to prevent the closure of 12 residential care homes in Scotland.

Campaign group Save Our Bield said, “These closures will result in 167 frail elderly residents having to be relocated against their will and put an additional, unnecessary strain on our already overstretched care system.”

Families received a letter on 10 October telling them that the care homes were to close. Laura Owens' gran has been told her care home is to close on 31 March. She told Socialist Worker, “The letter said that it was ‘not financially viable’ to keep the small care homes open.”

Laura said, “My gran worked until she was 74. She lived a modest life which now means that any money she does have goes towards paying for her care.

“Widowed in her 50s my gran became fiercely independent and continued driving right up into her 70s. She loved clothes and had a shoe collection to die for. My gran is a real person, a person who has contributed to society. She has history and she has a future.”

Bield blames “severe pressure due to cuts in local authority funding” for its closures and has turned the spotlight on the SNP's local government cuts.

SNP health minister Shona Robison told one campaigner that her government are “not bystanders” in this issue and that she will “instruct her official to look at all options”.

Stress

The residents are all at high risk of Relocation Stress Syndrome. Save Our Bield points out that those with “dementia for example will find this particularly stressful” because “they do not have the cognitive processes to understand what has happened to them”.

Laura has a background working in social care and has some praise for the Scottish government. “There's a lot of good work that's gone on for children in care and for young people coming out of care. I commend the government for doing that.”

But she told Socialist Worker, “There's a bit of an agenda here in Scotland to create super care homes. It's like factory farming—cram as many people in as possible and get more for less.”

Laura thinks the lack of action so far from SNP leaders doesn't match their progressive rhetoric.

“If they're going to say that they're a government that promotes social welfare, social justice and that they're socially responsible then they have to look after people at the other end of their life.

“The Scottish government claim to uphold the principles of the welfare state—from the cradle to the grave. They'll look after you from the cradle but not to the grave.”

The campaign has called a protest at the Scottish parliament to coincide with a specially convened meeting of the Health and Sport committee, to discuss care home sustainability, on the same day. It is encouraging supporters to join them from 12.30pm on 12 December. Sign the petition you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-bield-care-homes-open Keep up to date with the campaign facebook.com/helpbieldcarehomes

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