Residents left in limbo over care home closure

Photo Emma Mitchell 18.10.17' General View of Bield Housing care home in Linlithgow
Photo Emma Mitchell 18.10.17' General View of Bield Housing care home in Linlithgow

Campaigners described a housing provider’s decision to close its care homes as a “disaster” for families in Linlithgow.

Edinburgh-based operator Bield Housing is to shut all 12 of its homes including the West Port in Linlithgow and Woodlands on Kinneil Drive in Bo’ness because of financial pressures. The residential housing in these areas is unaffected.

The move could impact on up to 25 elderly residents and 28 staff at the two homes which will close by March 31.

The housing provider stated in a letter to clients that it would aim to help families and find alternatives before the deadline.

One of the resident’s family, who didn’t want to be named, said: “I am concerned as this came out of the blue. They are vulnerable, elderly and this is basically not right where will they go? The waiting lists for care homes are horrendous. Everybody is upset. Imagine the impact this will have on a 90-year-old.”

John Gallacher, Unison Scottish organiser, said: “First minister Nicola Sturgeon must intervene and ask how Bield Housing’s management team got themselves into this position. This is a disaster for families across Scotland and it questions the role of government, integrated joint boards, NHS and local authorities.”

West Lothian Council said a “named person” will be allocated to each resident.

Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop said health officials in the Scottish Government have been engaging with the Care Inspectorate and chief officers of Integration authorities to ensure that residents’ care needs are a priority.

Brian Logan, chief executive of Bield, said: “We are aware of the serious impact these changes will make to people who use our services, their families and our staff.

“Those impacted by the changes have been advised and in the coming weeks and months we will be holding consultation meetings to communicate the reasons for the decision and discuss what options are available to those affected – with the aim of minimising the impact.”