MSP calls for urgent ‘care summit’

Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute.
Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute.

Argyll and Bute’s MSP, Michael Russell, has called for an urgent ‘care summit’ to be held following serious problems in two care homes for the elderly in his constituency in the last month.

Craigard on Bute was shut following legal action by the Care Inspectorate and will cease to operate this week. The action by the watchdog followed a number of negative reports and took place despite the best efforts of the council and the Integration Joint Board to secure improvements in the privately-owned establishment.

Now the Church of Scotland owned Auchinlee care home in Kintyre which has places for up to 20 elderly people with dementia is being considered for closure, and a decision will be made on Wednesday by the Board of Crossreach, the Kirk charity which runs the home.

Despite detailed negotiations over the past few months no solution to the financial losses being incurred has been found.

After representations from SNP councillors for Bute and for Kintyre, Michael Russell has now written to the IJB and the Scottish Government asking for an urgent meeting to be held early in the New Year to consider the developing crisis in provision, which would be made even worse if the IJB decides to close Struan Lodge in Dunoon which was threatened with closure this summer.

Michael Russell said: “There is clearly an emerging crisis in care in Argyll and Bute. The proposed closure of Struan Lodge was described by many at the time as a mistake given the difficulties of finding places for elderly people in Argyll and Bute. Now the closure of Craigard by the Care Inspectorate and the likely closure of Auchinlee have put even greater pressure on available places.

“On Bute many elderly people are now having to leave the island if they wish to go into care and the same problem will occur in Campbeltown. Given the distance of Campbeltown from any other comparable facility this will put intolerable strain on families and create great distress for those presently being looked after in Auchinlee.

“I think an urgent meeting of all the organisations involved is required and I have written, along with my colleague John Armour, councillor for Kintyre, to ask for such a ‘care summit’ to be held early in the New Year.

“I will also seek to involve the council and care providers to see if such a joint approach can produce some new thinking and new solutions.”