The decision was taken by the Western Isles Integration Joint Board at its board meeting last week.
A report on the move also confirmed that even if the outlined deficit and recruitment issues are now addressed, the IJB is planning a significant change in the occupancy arrangements of the new facilities due to the on-going financial and recruitment concerns.
The report stated that to proceed with the transition of residents to the new facility and housing with extra care provision with the “known structural deficit” would “be against Standing Financial Instructions.”
The residents of Dun Eisdean and Dun Berisay care homes in Stornoway were originally set to move to the new Goathill campus, but that move could now be delayed, and the report before the IJB board presented a revised plan for occupancy of the new facilities, specifically the housing with extra care units, with only half of the 50 being earmarked for occupancy.
Ten of the new extra care units under the plan would be reclassified for ‘residential care’ and another 11 used for respite care, replacing the nine beds at Bethesda, offering a small increase in overall respite capacity.
Four ‘intermediate’ care beds would also be created – an increase in capacity on the two currently at Bethesda – and the remaining nine residents from the two residential care homes would move to Bethesda.
Members on the IJB board proposed alternative uses for the potentially vacant housing, offering accommodation to those in the local community with different care needs who might benefit from the services and support available on campus.
But the Chair of the Comhairle’s Communities and Housing Committee, Cllr Kenny John Macleod, said they had been included in the campus’s accommodation to fulfil an identified need within the community and warned against reducing the capacity of the campus.
A representative of Hebridean Housing Partnership – which is a partner in the development of the HWEC units – stated that the financial risks associated with lost revenue from the units not being occupied would, under the terms of the partnership agreement, be shared between the partners.
A spokesperson for HHP said: “We are arranging an urgent meeting with CNES and IJB to discuss the significant change in our partnership agreement following which we will be discussing the implications on our current and future plans at our Board meeting on 9th February.
“Needless to say it is extremely disappointing that our partner in this flagship project is now facing such a funding gap and we will do what we can to work with them to find a resolution.” The Scottish Government said they were aware of the situation.
A spokesperson for the Comhairle said: “There are a series of recommendations from the IJB and, as per our normal procedures, the Comhairle will consider these in due course.”