Provost hits back at care row criticism

Councillor Len Scoullar (inset) has said that he is hopeful that the council amendment he gave his support to will find a solution to the current situation facing staff, residents and their families of Thomson Court.
Councillor Len Scoullar (inset) has said that he is hopeful that the council amendment he gave his support to will find a solution to the current situation facing staff, residents and their families of Thomson Court.

The Provost of Argyll and Bute has hit back at criticism for not supporting a motion posed by his two fellow Bute councillors on the subject of the Thomson Court day centre closure.

Councillor Len Scoullar gave his backing to an amendment from the council’s administration [you can read the full amendment at the foot of this article].

A motion put forward by Councillor Isobel Strong, seconded by Councillor Robert Macintyre, called on the Integrated Joint Board to reverse its decision to close the day centre at Thomson Court in Rothesay.

This was defeated by the administration’s amendment by 19 votes to 14.

Cllr Scoullar told The Buteman he believed his fellow Bute councillors’ motion “does not address the problem, whereas I am hopeful the amendment will find a solution”.

Cllr Scoullar continued: “I have been told, but do not have any proof, that I have been criticised for not voting for the motion but I would suggest that the amendment has a much better chance of success than an already rejected motion from the Bute and Cowal Area Committee and I gave all the possibilities much thought.

“I also wish to relate the strange goings on when we considered the matter at council and heard Councillor Strong intimate that if permissible she wanted to include the largest part of the amendment [council’s chief executive to meet with officials] in her motion. After legal advice it was decided this was not allowed by standing orders.

“I think any fair minded person would, under the circumstances given, recognise the very pertinent reasons for me supporting the amendment and rejecting what I considered to be a tired and already rejected by IJB, motion.

“I most sincerely hope that the senior officers’ discussion can deliver a service that becomes even better than what we have now as a result of our council decision.”

Cllr Scoullar also said that he had attended a seminar earlier this month called by the council which included a presentation and discussion on the IJB.

“Present was Christina West, the chief executive of the IJB,” Cllr Scoullar said, “and after a full discussion with me she asked that I take back to Bute apologies for lack of consultation with staff and the community on Bute.

“She told me that serious budgetary problems were what had precipitated this but promised me that they would be consulting soon.”

* The amendment, as approved by the council, is as follows. The council:

- notes the concerns raised and representations being made by communities across Argyll and Bute about the redesign of health and social care services;

- notes the difficult decisions that the Integrated Joint Board, like all public bodies, had to face within its Quality and Financial Plan;

- notes that following legislation introduced by the Scottish Government the delivery of and responsibility for decision on health and social care services within Argyll and Bute has been delegated to the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership;

- instructs the council's Chief Executive to meet with the Scottish Government, the Chief Executive of NHS Highland, the Chief Officer of the Integrated Joint Board, and any other relevant officers of these organisations to explore and consider the development of arrangements to address any shortfall in resources required to deliver the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership Strategic Plan.

To read more about the circumstances surrounding the closure of Thomson Court day centre, click here.