The Edinburgh Integrated Joint Board, which organises integrated health and social care in the city, met on Tuesday 28th September. The meeting time and date had been changed twice at short notice. You might think that the board was trying to evade protest. In the event there were rallies outside the City Chambers, both in the morning at 9.30 and again at 2.30. The campaign to save public care homes has had an impact. But despite the opposition the board proceeded to confirm the closure of the Dumbrae home – which they intend to transfer to the NHS as a more specialised facility. From the outset the board, and the City Council have tried to exclude Dumbrae from the list of homes scheduled for closure – continually referring to four homes slated for closure. Our view has been simple – there were nine publicly run care homes in Edinburgh – if the board gets its way there will be four. That’s five closures however, you dress it up.
So what about the other four homes? The board talks about a ‘comprehensive consultation’ on the closure of the four homes, but it is not going to happen anytime soon. The EIJB will discuss it again at their October meeting and will consult with the City Council and Lothian Health. At the board meeting there seemed to be agreement that there will be two parallel and linked consultations. One will be on the four homes closure issue and the other will be on the overall social care provision in Edinburgh up until 2030. Once the nature of the consultations have been decided they will will last three months. There will then be a period of evaluation (perhaps a month according to officials) followed by the writing of a report for the EIJB. It seems that the EIJB is going to postpone an actual decision on the four homes until after the local authority elections in May 2022.
In these circumstances it’s really important to keep up the campaign in the context of a vision of a publicly run and democratically accountable service that meets the needs of Edinburgh residents. We will discuss next steps in the campaign at our meeting on Thursday October 7th at 6.30pm.
Unison issues this Press Statement following the board meeting
Care home closure is ‘slap in the face’ to Edinburgh’s most vulnerable, says UNISON
UNISON, the union for carers, has expressed deep dismay at the decision to close an Edinburgh care home. The decision was passed by the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (IJB) – which commissions health and social services from the City – at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday). UNISON, Scotland’s largest union, has been campaigning to prevent the closure of five council-run Edinburgh care homes, including Drumbrae. A further four council-run homes – Ferrylee, Clovenstone, Fords Road and Jewel House are all being earmarked for closure but subject to public consultation. Tom Connolly, UNISON Edinburgh City branch secretary, said: “The people of Edinburgh can feel very let down by this decision to close a much-needed local service, not least the elderly and vulnerable who reside in the care home and now face an uncertain future. “UNISON will continue its campaign to save public sector-run care homes and prevent them going into private hands. People need to come before profit and UNISON will continue its fight to save Edinburgh’s public run care homes and call for all private run care homes to be brought into the public sector.”Greig Kelbie, UNISON regional organiser, said: “The decision to close Drumbrae was made without any public consultation and is a real slap in the face to the most vulnerable people in the city. “UNISON understands there is a substantial waiting list for homes in the area, so if the need hasn’t gone away then why should the services?”