Care home bosses accused of ripping off pensioners


By Martin Graham

CARE home bosses have been slammed for charging some Scots pensioners almost double the amount for their services as they charge local authorities.

Critics have said the practice is unfair and claim that OAPs are being drained out of their hard earned savings.

Older people living in care homes receive a contribution towards their costs under the free personal care scheme.

Residents with more than £22,750 in assets have to pay for their accommodation themselves, and any equity in their home is included in the calculation.

These ‘self-funders’ are charged up to £1,000 per week, while their counterparts who are funded by local authorities are charged a maximum of £550 per week.

Many of those in the upper bracket are forced to sell their family home to cover the costs.

John Swinburne from the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party said: “Care home providers are bleeding dry pensioners who have worked hard all their lives.

“This is down to greed and profit.

“It’s not fair that someone with savings has to give up everything when they go into a home while someone with no money gets the same help free.

“Everyone should be treated equally and that means no-one should be means-tested.”

Around a third of Scotland’s 32,000 long-stay residents are self funders.

Under the flagship free care policy, residents are entitled to help with eating, bathing, dressing and getting around., with the first £227 of the weekly home fees baing oaid by the government.

For those above the savings threshold, the remaining costs have to be paid to cover meals, accommodation, heating and laundry, which can amount to hundreds of pounds.

Residents below the threshold are supported by the local authority at an agreed national rate of £550 per week.

The organisation Scottish Care represents care home owners.

Their chief executive Ranald Mair denied that pensioners were being ripped off.

He said: “The national rates agreed with councils are heavily discounted and reflect their large volume purchasing power.

“The rates paid by self-funding residents are set by the market.

“Care homes are required to be transparent about costs and people can choose which home they go into.

“I would prefer a system in which the disparity was not so great but that would require more investment from the public sector.

“Overall costs in Scotland are lower than in the rest of the UK.”