Scottish Labour has called on the Government and Southern Cross to guarantee that care home residents will not be disrupted despite the private care company’s current crisis. The comment follows Southern Cross’ announcement that it had entered administration at the weekend.
Scottish Labour Shadow Health Secretary, Jackie Baillie MSP, called on fellow ministers to safeguard the welfare of care home residents. Laying responsibility at the feet of First Minister Alex Salmond’s government, MSP Baillie said:
“The Scottish Government must act quickly to ensure that continuity and quality of care is maintained at every one of Scotland’s 98 Southern Cross care homes.
“Labour secured a commitment from the First Minister that he would ensure the care of vulnerable Southern Cross residents would not be compromised and we will hold him to that. “
Southern Cross had been suffering from some difficulties for some time. Three quarters of the 98 care homes in Scotlandhave had complaints upheld in the past five years and almost half of all the homes have received warnings about inadequate staffing.MSP Baillie said that such a negative record should provide a
“catalyst to drive long-term improvements in the quality of care of Scotland’s older people.”
Anne Jinks, whose 102 year old mother, Betty, is a resident at Southern Cross’ Bonnington Care Centre in Edinburgh, said: “We’ve heard there is goign to be a new owner and that no one would lose their jobs.
“I wouldn’t want to look for a new home for her now. It’s scary reading about all this in the news.”
Another resident’s relative, Charles Donnelly, said he was still worried about the future of Bonnington Care Centre. He said: “The staff in there are very good but a lot of them, including the manager, have left recently.
“I hope they keep it open, the care is fantastic.”
The 3000 residents of Southern Cross care homes will now come under new management as Southern Cross tries to establish a smooth transition to an alternative provider. Despite fears about homes closing amid the crisis, Councillor Douglas Yates, COSLA’s Health and Well-being spokesperson, confirmed that
“there are no care home closures to contend with at this juncture’ and that the several thousand staff members employed by Southern Cross should also be remaining in place despite any managerial changes.
A spokesman for watchdog Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) confirmed that it would be one of the bodies working alongisde COSLA and others in the effort to preserve the quality of care for all Southern Cross residents.
“As with any care home, the people who live in the 97 Southern Cross care homes across Scotland deserve to receive the highest standards of care and be treated with dignity and respect at all times.’SCSWIS is actively monitoring current standards of care in Southern Cross care homes and will make sure that all new providers are rigorously checked and are able to meet the National Care Standards before they are licensed to operate any services.’It is important that relatives and friends of care home residents feel confident in raising any concerns with SCSWIS. “
COSLA will be holding a contingency plan meeting on Thursday to discuss the possible options available to Southern Cross as it tries to hand over the management of its care homes. All Southern Cross landlords throughout the UK have announced their decision to cease partnership with the company, however all have vowed that the move will not affect their commitment to the continuity of care.