SPEAKING in a debate at the Scottish Parliament today (Thursday, June 9), Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Mary Scanlon, raised the issue about the difference in funding from local authorities to private and public care home providers.
Ms Scanlon, who is also the Party spokesperson for Health, highlighted the fact that day care services are often the first to be cut by councils trying to find savings.
She said: “This is a very difficult time for people in care homes and their friends and family given the uncertainty over Souther Cross and their four homes in the Highlands.
“This all comes at a time of more scandalous revelations about the care older people have been given in the NHS.
“The case of Mrs V at Ninewells Hospital has shocked and sickened many people. Mrs V had experienced distress and agitation as a result of being prevented from eating. If this lady could be so badly treated and the case only come to light due to one independent doctor’s diligence and conscience, how many more elderly people are ‘Starved of Care’ in our National Health Service?”
Ms Scanlon presented the question of how do families know their parents will be cared for, fed and treated with respect and dignity, not only in the care home sector but in the NHS.
She continued: “I wanted to concentrate on a long term issue about funding and I asked the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the fees paid by councils to people placed in council homes which can be up to 80 per cent more than the fees paid in the voluntary and independent sector, despite the fact that all care homes have to meet the same quality standards set by the Care Commission.
“It can not be right that there is such a huge difference in the fees paid and I hope the Cabinet secretary will look into this important anomaly.”
Ms Scanlon added: “One of the main problems for older people is loneliness, with families dispersed and an inability to go out alone. This is why I cannot understand why Councils in seeking to trim budgets tend to look first at Day Centres for older people.”