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Kilgour: Scottish care homes are in the ‘last chance saloon

April 30, 2020

Care home owner Robert Kilgour has appealed for extra Scottish Government and local authority funding for the independent care home sector as it bears the brunt of being on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Kilgour, who has campaigned incessantly for the improved supply of PPE and dramatically increased Covid-19 testing in Scotland’s care homes, said the sector was “on the critical list”.

“The Scottish Government is rightly giving special financial support to Scottish businesses that are currently closed – it is both the right and the sensible action for them to take to ensure the swiftest recovery of the Scottish economy when the lock-down is lifted,” said Mr Kilgour.

“Scottish care homes are not closed – they are on the frontline, and our residents and staff are enduring an absolutely torrid time.

“Our brave staff are fighting 24/7 against the Covid-19 onslaught, with many working enormous shifts to care for those they consider to be their second families, but unless we get desperately needed funding to the frontline of this battle, thousands more elderly people in care homes will die across the UK. That is the grim reality facing the care home sector and the Scottish Government and local authorities need to act now.

“With a few honourable exceptions such as Fife and Dumfries & Galloway Councils, Scottish local authorities are refusing to fund their independent care homes to the same level as their own local authority facilities. It’s a national scandal and is putting vulnerable people’s lives at grave risk.”

Mr Kilgour is asking three questions:

1) Why are the Scottish Government and the vast majority of Scottish local authorities still refusing to give any meaningful extra financial support to the care home sector to help it cope with the huge extra Covid-19 costs that it is currently facing – especially when social care is doing such an important and crucial job at this incredibly difficult time for society?

2) Why are the Scottish Government and many Scottish local authorities continuing to support their own care home residents to a greater financial level than they are supporting the local authority clients they have placed in independent sector care homes?

3) Why is the Scottish social care sector, for far too long a ‘Cinderella’ service, being abandoned in this way by the Scottish Government and most Scottish local authorities, with dedicated care home workers and vulnerable care home residents continuing to being treated as second class citizens?

“We really are in the ‘last chance saloon’ if we want to save our social care sector,” said Mr Kilgour.

“If our social care collapses with its 1,000 care homes, 35,000 residents and 50,000 staff – what happens to our NHS?

“Without proper and fair financial support from the Scottish Government, I fear that many Scottish care homes will close, and we will face bed-blocking within Scottish hospitals at an unprecedented level.

“After this Covid-19 crisis is over, we must devise and implement a new social contract. We need to look after the key workers who will have saved this country during this crisis so much better than we currently do. We owe them nothing less.”

Robert Kilgour

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