Argyl and Bute Council press statement on Dunoon’s Struan Lodge care home

[20.55: Two updates at foot] Argyll and Bute Council has issued the following press statement on the proposed closure of Struan Lodge Care Home in Dunoon:

‘The Coalition Administration of Argyll & Bute Council met on Thursday 31st January to consider all the issues raised by the community and staff regarding the proposed closure of Struan Lodge.

‘An intense day of scrutiny including detailed sessions with senior management provided answers to all questions raised by the community, residents, carers and staff.

‘Members were reassured that all requests for information have been and continue to be processed as quickly as possible by the Council.

‘A final decision on the proposed planned closure will be made at the Council meeting on the 14th of February but the Administration have confirmed they are minded to approve the recommendation from the Special Committee on Adult Care to close Struan Lodge on a phased and planned approach.

‘Such a decision would mean an immediate moratorium on new admissions but at the earliest, closure would be at least three months away.

‘Lead Councillor for Adult Care, Councillor Anne Horn said: ‘Our policy on adult care is to provide the best and most appropriate care and support to meet the needs of all our elderly people despite the difficult financial times ahead.

‘The proposed closure of Struan Lodge is the natural consequence of that policy. Spending £400,000 more than is necessary of the adult care budget to subsidise care at Struan Lodge is not fair on all the other older people who have care needs now or in the future, whether at home or in care homes.

‘Those funds can be much better applied to raise the quality of care, allow better responses to new care situations and relieve pressure on hard working staff.

‘ ‘Thank you’ to everyone who wrote to us and contacted us over the last few weeks; your views are vitally important in helping us find the best way forward for residents of this facility. There will be a phased and planned approach to any closure to meet the individual needs of residents and to provide all possible support in selecting and re-locating to another care situation.

‘It is impossible to achieve the £5.8m savings to meet our requirement to balance the Council budget without impacting on job security.

‘It is regrettable that the staff at Struan Lodge may be redeployed or even subject to redundancy but we are confident that management are keeping staff and unions updated and dealing with this in the correct and agreed manner.

‘We are aware of a possible staff buy-out of the facility but so far no proposal has been brought forward by them. If such an approach were made we would ensure it received proper consideration.

‘It is a firm commitment that all possible assistance will be given to residents, families and carers in selecting a different care home and in ensuring the welfare of these ten elderly people during their transfer.

‘We recognise that living with uncertainty is very difficult for everyone involved so we hope the Council on the 14th February will provide a clear decision on the future of Struan Lodge to allow residents, carers, families and staff to make firm plans for the future.’

15.40 Update

The political philosophy of the  Argyll First group, where they put the interests of Argyll First – above local and other interests, means that members are always free to vote as they individually see the issue of the moment. The group does not therefore operate a whipping system. We understand that Councillor Donald Kelly of Argyll First does not support this press release.

20.55 Update:

We asked Councillor Kelly for the reasons for his discomfort with the administration’s majority decision to lean towards the closure of Struan Lodge Care Home.

From what he has told us, the heart of his position is that he feels the Council should be trying to bring the remaining nursing homes up to the standard of Struan Lodge instead of closing it to make the books balance.
He says: ‘My view is that people come first and if there is the an opportunity to keep a facility such as Struan Lodge open we should do it.’

Councillor Kelly dismisses claims that keeping Struan Lodge open would impact negatively on the generality of adult care in Argyll and Bute. He points to the continuing cost of the practice of commissioning consultants, which is around £1 million a year.

The previous administration attempted to resolve its savings targets by the naive brutalism of simply closing 26 primary schools. A single budget sector may be the largest but the issue is not its immediate targeting for cuts  but an interrogation of its relative value to Argyll and Bute.

Councillor Kelly says that the new administration has had a difficult job dealing with the financial mess it inherited when it came to power in May last year but feels that there is room for a more delicate, if more complex, balancing of the books.

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17 Responses to Argyl and Bute Council press statement on Dunoon’s Struan Lodge care home

  1. How pathetic it is to see the press release mention the majority block within the coalition only third out of four blocks when they , the SNP are in the driving seat and in many peoples’ opinion we have a SNP run council .
    Don’t the Councillors in the other three groupings mentioned realise they fulfil the role of useful idiots , or is it just all about money ?

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  2. Once again you never get the truth from the council
    administration . We have been waiting for weeks for
    information regarding the supposed £400,000 they would save by closing STRUAN LODGE and we are still waiting.
    I challenge the snp administration to show us the true cost and savings they would make if Struan Lodge was closed.
    or is it smoking mirror time again.

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  3. This is being driven by the party who claim Independence will bring a better future for Scotland. This decision is ill thought out and ultimately subsidises a failing, low quality private company.

    The SNP give with one hand, to much ado, and take with the other, tying to avoid blame.

    This is the party basking in `council tax freeze` glory, letting councils bear the cost cutting brunt.

    This party are no better than the Tory`s they so despise.

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    • Jamie, what has this issue to do with the fact that the SNP claims r.e independence?
      Are you and the others who dislike the SNP, as a party their policies, decisions etc. unaware that there will genuinely be an oportunity to vote for other political parties to govern Scotland post the return of a ‘Yes’ vote in 2014?
      How desperately tiresome to hear this constant citing of all the SNP party say and do and using to pre-judge how Scotland will perform standing on her own two feet like any independent country does.
      What is it preciscely that people don’t get? Is it impossible to invisage any other party governing Scotland than the SNP?
      If a ‘Yes’ vote is successful in 2014 the other mainstream parties must set out how they wish to govern Scotland. They’ll have two years to do that, perhaps they should be giving us their proposals before autumn 2014 should we choose independence.

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      • The get out of jail free card JnrTick. Such a lack of faith from SNP when they roll that line out. The SNP are the party that wish to destroy the United Kingdom, as DC said – you make the case for it. And stop dodging the issues.

        Annie – this care home is being shut to allow places to be filled in other private homes, homes with a much lower standard and close links with others who have gone out of business.

        Who will bail them out when they go under? The cost are caslculated on numbers that literally do not add up!

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    • “council tax freeze glory”
      I used too be one of those who constantly got on my soap box bemoaning the ever increasing council tax hike (pre-SNP) and seeing no difference in local services and local environment. I can no longer cite cost when complaining about public toilets, litter, street lighting and so on. The freezing of council tax was just one of the main reasons I and a majory Scottish electorate voted SNP into government, any saving is extremely welcome given many employees salary’s will have been static for what will now be three years amounting to a reduction in wages given inflation.
      How delighted too that I no longer pay for prescriptions, wy wife requiring large quantities of different medication, (long term) which we used to have to finance. Being ill used to be costly.
      The sums involved from savings made not having to finance council tax rises, prescriptions, offspring’s university education and so on may appear comparitively small to those able to afford, accumulatively, long term, they make a big difference, especially added to pay yearly freezes.
      These policies introduced by our Scottish govt. may not be universally popular but popular enough to get the SNP a second and historic term enable a form of counter balance to Westminster’s future of never ending, resultless austerity measures inflicted on us all.
      Its very important to remind ourselves why we, the common man and woman who go about our buisness, working for our employer, paying our taxes, returning home with our crust face the brunt of these measures. Why? In a nutshell as a result of greed, gross excesses, poor choices/priorities and economic mismanagement from consecutive UK governments whether lovers of Westminster politics like to hear it or not.
      The policies we live with, fortunately in my opinion, here in Scotland also expected from another once popular party here in Scotland. No chance, they are now conjoined to the Tories you compare the SNP to. If anyone disagrees with this last statement please cite policies and noteable differences, I’m all ears.

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      • What is all this rubbish about the massive cost of prescriptions that JnrTick is no longer having to pay.

        No matter how many prescriptions anyone required in the past, the maximum that anyone needed to pay was only £104 a year by using a Pre Payment Certificate. We also need to remember that it was only a small percentage of folk in the past who had to pay for their prescription.

        I require six prescriptions every two months and would be more than happy to pay for them if this meant that all Alex Salmond’s millionaire friends also had to pay instead of the tax payer having to subsidise them. No wonder our public services are being cut by the Scottish Government.

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        • If as you say that you would be more than happy to pay for prescriptions –whats stopping you -each time you go to the chemist put the amount you would have paid into the charity box that you normally see near the till. I for one am greatful for the fact that I do not have to pay directly (although I work full time) as it would be a drain on my family.

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  4. My friends and I are furious that Donald Kelly wants the old folk of Campbeltown to suffer so a luxury care home in Dunoon can stay open. He is supposed to be representing us not a lucky few in Dunoon. It is ridiculous the Council should be losing £400,000 a year on a care home and Donald still wants to keep it open. I am looking for better care for my husband who is not in a home. I don’t understand the finances but Donald please help us ordinary folk here.

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    • Well said Annie. Nothing against those in Struan Lodge but why should folk across Argyll be forced to pay nearly half a million pounds to subsidise about 10 residents in one care facility when the same service can be provide by other local care providers at a fraction of the cost and where the standard of care is the same as across most of Argyll & Bute?

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    • From Councillor Donald Kelly:

      ‘I have never done anything in my time as a local Councillor which has been to the detriment of the people of Campbeltown quite the reverse actually.
      If Annie or indeed any of my constituents are concerned regarding my decision to support Struan Lodge I am only too willing to meet and discuss this issue with them.
      Contact details .01586810193 or07977327751
      Email donald.kelly2@argyll-bute ‘

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  5. Independence will bring greater prosperity to the vast majority in Scotland. It is high time we benefited from the ample resources that are so abundant in this country and we should stop talking ourselves down, like certain individuals on this list who clearly are operating to their own agenda.

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    • James, we comment and visit the wrong website if we wish to encounter many others who share your and my views, still, if you are fond of a challenge? No point in countering views you concur with.

      Independence will happen, I hope in 2014, if not, which is a genuine possibility, then not a million miles away, it’s increasing unpreventable, the UK slowly being found out for what it sadly cannot deny. One of the top four unequal (in terms of wealth/income) countries on this planet. These inequalities left unaddressed at our peril!

      We wonder and debate why society has deteriorated, any correlation?.

      Those proud of the above statistic and wishing to be complicit in sustaining this rot, please vote ‘No’ in 2014. Vote ‘Yes’ and the process can at least begin to remedy and work towards a more equal society here in Scotland albeit not as unequal as we currently exist as as part of this faulty union.

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  6. If the figures show that the extra money which Struan Lodge costs could be saved by transferring the residents to other homes (and no doubt Audit Scotland could confirm this )then I have no doubt that should be done. I presume the Department concerned have the plans necessary to move them.
    If the standards in other homes are not up to snuff then this should be dealt with immediately irrespective of the Struan Lodge question, since they should have been designated in the contracts signed by the Council officers on our behalf.
    The only remaining problem could be finding the new places near enough to the present ones which are going to disappear – but surely this has aready been dealt with.
    Do some of your above contributors not believe that we are in the real world where money does not grow on trees but has to come from tax-payers pockets and allocated to needs on priorities decided by elected politicians who can be held responsible at elections by the tax-paying voters?

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  7. Gerry Fisher – do you realise the impact on an elderly person of moving their home, against their will, and for many, yet another time? Have you any idea? Imagine it was you or someone you cared about. You might just think twice.

    If you looked at the mortality rates, you’d realise this is not just about money, but puts peoples lives at risk, particularly the elderly.

    Struan Lodge is home for residents. Does this not come into consideration, or are we at the stage that we care not about the people, as long as the sums add up (which they don’t – Audit Scotland would have a field day at the figures published by ABC).

    I say this again – why would you move these residents to a poorer quality home, some of which were so bad they were not allowed new entrants until recently, and on top of that, to a company who’s finincial position is unstable to say the leaast.

    What happens when they collapse, something that is quite possible? Just move everyone again?

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