Families urge Scottish Government to save specialist dementia care home

South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership confirmed last week it will shut McClymont House which caters for elderly people with dementia.

Families campaigning against the closure of a specialist dementia care home in Lanarkshire are appealing for the Scottish Government to step in and save the facility.

South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership confirmed last week it will shut McClymont House which caters for elderly people with severe forms of the disease.

Those with loved ones in the home fear moving them could kill them – and that even if they survive the move, many will be unable to travel the long distances to see them in their new placements – leaving them isolated and scared.

Emma Koubayssi and her mum Allanna have been fighting, along with the families of other residents, to stop the closure.

However, it’s a battle they now fear they’ve lost after the council confirmed the home will close in seven months.

“We’ve still got hope – It might have reduced significantly to 1%, but I’m going to keep fighting, that’s what we do for our loved ones,” Emma told STV News.

Emma says McClymont House was the perfect choice for her grandmother Margaret and she may not survive losing it.

“They’re not just numbers,” she said.

“The way that they’re treating them, I just think would they do that to their family members?

“All we can do, is to keep hoping and to keep fighting until they do evict my nanna – until it comes to that last day and we’ve no choice.

“We’re going to barricade ourselves in the room.”

South Lanarkshire Integration Joint Board (IJB) said the decision “weighed heavily on all concerned”.

The Save McClymont House Group has appealed to Scotland’s health minister Neil Gray to intervene.

“We are hoping the health minister will re-look at it and see that the saving they are going to make is a drop in the ocean,” Emma’s mum Allanna told STV News.

Plans to close McClymont House in Lanark were put in consultation last year by South Lanarkshire Council as part of a wider suite of measures to address a budget shortfall of more than £19m.

A Consultation Report submitted to the Integration Joint Board on Friday, March 15 included recommendations put forward by Soumen Sengupta, director of health and social care for South Lanarkshire, for closure.

A spokesperson for South Lanarkshire Integration Joint Board (IJB) said an urgent appeal for additional funding for health and social care had been made to the Government and, should this be successful, the closure of the home would be reconsidered.

The IJB said it continues to take the statutory duty of care to all 11 long-term residents at McClymont House seriously and “appropriate due process” has been followed throughout the process.

“We will ensure each resident’s individual needs and views are considered properly, compassionately within an appropriate timescale.

“Care will be given to sourcing appropriate placements for each person in close collaboration and discussion with residents and families.

“As would always be the case, individuals would be placed at another care home that provides the care that meets their assessed needs – be that residential or nursing.”

The IJB said difficult decisions being made in South Lanarkshire are the same as those across the country in the face of a £33m funding gap.

“No one has entered care services with a view to proposing the closure of facilities,” the spokesperson told STV News.

“There are no easy decisions when it comes to bridging this sort of deficit. A number of options were considered and rejected because of the consequences for large numbers of vulnerable people.”

The Scottish Government’s social care minister Maree Todd said: “No one wants to see the closure of good quality care homes. However, this is a local decision taken by the Integrated Joint Board, while we have overall responsibility for health and social care policy in Scotland, the statutory responsibility for care home provision and capacity lies with local authorities.

“The Scottish Government have increased funding and pay rises for social care support staff to help deal with the consequences of reduced staffing because of Brexit, the pandemic, and rising costs of energy and inflation.

“Our recent Budget includes an additional £2bn investment for social care and integration – delivering on our Programme for Government commitment to increase social care spending by 25% over this Parliament – two years ahead of our original target.”

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