At its meeting on 14th April, the SNP’s Argyll and Bute Constituency Association agreed the following motion, clearly relating to the internal upheavals in the council group over the decision to close Struan Lodge in Dunoon:
‘The SNP Council group on Argyll and Bute Council are committed to the introduction of a new strategy for the care of the elderly in Argyll and Bute to meet the increasing demands of our ageing population in a time where resources to meet demand are in decline and are likely to be for many years to come. In the next 25 years the elderly population of Argyll and Bute is predicted to rise by 75%. This strategy, if allowed to develop, will help ensure that our elderly people will be able to live independently for as long as possible and end their days in their own communities.
‘The strategy is based on increasing the availability of Extra Care Housing which can utilise resources unavailable other than for housing. The strategy will also encourage the independent sector, which currently provides 85% of elderly care capacity in Argyll and Bute, to invest in the development of new capacity to meet the increasing demand for high dependency and dementia care.
We believe consequences of not adopting this strategy are that –
- There may quickly be insufficient care home places to meet local demand;
- Bed blocking may significantly increase across Argyll and Bute;
- The Council may come under pressure to build new care homes – the equivalent of one new care home every year for the next 20 years;
- Investment in new provision in the independent sector may decline in the face of public sector competition;
- The risk of independent sector care homes going out of business across Argyll and Bute may significantly increase;
- The Council may have to consider slashing services even further in every other council service area and significantly increasing the costs of care in the community in order to meet demands.
‘This Constituency Association believes that -
- The Constituency Association endorse the principle of Argyll and Bute Council’s Adult Care strategy and supports the efforts of Councillors and staff.
- The Constituency Association appeals to the council group to ensure that vulnerable, elderly people affected by this strategy are treated with compassion, respect and dignity in a genuine, meaningful consultation process;
- The Constituency Association recommends all Branches work with the Council Group to promote this strategy to activists and community members.’
We read this motion as supportive of the strategy and proposals put forward and agreed by the administration, and by the full council, including the closure of the Struan Lodge care home.
This is a change of position and it leaves the dissident group animated by local Argyll and Bute SNP MSP, Michael Russell, looking isolated.
We read the change of position and the emergence of this motion as a further indication of what has been becoming increasingly obvious – that party central has finally woken up to the irrecoverable damage caused to the party in Argyll and Bute by this external fostering of internal discord amongst the SNP council group, on which we have published extensively.