Care home residents treated as 'collateral damage' amid closure risk

A local campaign group say they are 'profoundly dismayed' by the report's recommendations.

Lanark care home residents treated as ‘collateral damage’ amid closure risk, say campaigners STV News

Campaigners bidding to save a care home from potential closure say residents are being treated as “collateral damage” to address budget deficits.

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.

Local campaign Save McClymont House Group claim residents, many of whom have advanced dementia or complex care needs, are being treated as “collateral damage”.

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.

Campaigners said the home suffers from “poor budgeting, lack of transparency, and a lack of compassion towards residents”.

A spokesperson for the Save McClymont House Group said: “On Friday, March 15, the Consultation Report on the closure of McClymont House in Lanark was released, revealing a resounding “no” from the rural Clydesdale community regarding the closure of the home.

“Despite this clear feedback, the final agenda pack, specifically on Page 59, includes recommendations to close McClymont House.

“Families and residents of McClymont House are profoundly dismayed by the recommendations put forward by Soumen Sengupta, director of health and social care for South Lanarkshire.

“Despite overwhelming community opposition expressed during the consultation, we believe the decision to close the home appears to have been made as early as September 2023.

“We believe that the consultation process was merely a box-ticking exercise and question the validity of the decision-making process, spearheaded by Sengupta who had his own agenda and personal targets to meet.

“We believe there’s been poor budgeting, lack of transparency, and a lack of compassion towards residents, staff, and even junior members of Mr. Sengupta’s team.

“We believe that McClymont House residents are being treated as collateral damage in an effort to address budget deficits.

“Alarmingly, the recommendations include a seven-month timeline for closure, contradicting previous assurances given to families that there would be no timings imposed.

“Additionally, despite repeated requests, the families have been denied access to the Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA), raising further concerns about the fairness and transparency of the process.

“The IJB will vote on the closure on Tuesday, March 26 and if this goes ahead this closure represents a significant loss for the local Clydesdale community, prompting fears about the future of essential services in the area.

“The families express deep reservations about the independence of the process, particularly given Sengupta’s apparent absence from public meetings and limited engagement with affected families.

“The families are calling on all the IJB members to have the decency and care to vote against the closure and to look at alternatives to finding the small pot of money needed.”

Craig Cunningham, head of commissioning and performance of South Lanarkshire University Health & Social Care Partnership, said: “The consultation report has been submitted in full to the South Lanarkshire Integration Joint Board to inform its deliberations on the future of both McClymont House and Dewar House as part of a wider suite of measures to secure sustainable and effective services in the face of a substantial recurring budget shortfall, which is currently more than £19m for 2024-25 alone.

“As has been clearly set out, should the IJB decide to close these care homes, this process would be taken forward sensitively and in line with national guidance that ensures each resident’s individual needs and views are considered properly, their safety and wellbeing protected, and within an appropriately timescale.

“The Care Inspectorate stipulate that in the event that a care home is to be closed that a minimum of 13 weeks notice is given for deregistration.

“Having given careful consideration to the consultation report an extended closure period of seven months has been recommended and budgeted for.

“In the event that the recommendation is approved this should provide added reassurance for the 21 long-term residents and their families of both residential care homes that any process will not be unduly rushed and necessary care will be given to finding an appropriate placement for each resident .”

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