Elderly Care Row at Council meeting

21st June 2018

A major row has blown up at South Lanarkshire Council’s Social Work Committee about the future shape of elderly care facilities across the county. The Council administration are proposing to introduce a new model of care based on provision of intermediateElderly Care Row and rehabilitative beds to support people coming home from hospital. Most Councillors supported the model but Liberal Democrat and Labour Councillors criticised the fact that this was being funded by the closure of existing care homes in the Hamilton area.

A motion by Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brownto refer the whole matter to the full Council for decision to allow a closer look at the financial options was defeated by the SNP and Tories voting together.

Robert Brown said:

“The growth in the numbers of the elderly population with more people living longer is great but it brings with it pressures on community care and health facilities.  The Council’s move to support people leaving hospital to be more independent is absolutely right – but I and others were concerned that the Council seemed to be winding down the number of residential places it provided in order to fund the new set up.

The discussion was a bit confused and I am not sure the Tory Councillors understood they had voted to close two residential homes.

The reality is, as Council officials admitted, there will still be at least the same need for places in residential homes – and probably a greater need – and I want to see the Council continuing to play their part in this.

The immediate proposals affect Hamilton and Blantyre only but will see 2 existing homes there with about 60 places close. However, in due course this will affect what happens in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang area too.

The new approach to elderly care is intended to be rolled out across all 4 localities of South Lanarkshire including Cambuslang & Rutherglen. where the only residential home provision at present is the 50 units at David Walker Gardens. The plan talks about “an enhanced provision” there and it remains to be seen what this means in practice. The Council emphasis seems to be on more transitional care beds so there may be less long term residential places there. However the Council have a three year plan and it will probably be a couple of years before there are significant changes in our area.

I think it is likely that plans will adapt in the light of experience with the new model in the Hamilton and Clydesdale areas. My personal view is that ways need to be found of providing additional facilities, including more transitional beds – but also keeping up the numbers of long term places which will still be needed.

This is a nationwide problem and will require additional funding from the Scottish Government.”

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