Jura volunteers’ anger over closure of respite flat

Jura Care Centre in Craighouse

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Volunteers who run a respite flat on Jura say health care bosses should be shamefaced for deciding to shut it and never telling them.

Members of Jura Care Centre Group (JCCG) were dismayed and shocked when they found out only by chance last month that Argyll and Bute’s Health & Social Care Partnership had decided back on Christmas Eve 2020 to stop funding the flat.

Arrangements were being made to clear furniture out of the flat and move in a full-time resident when JCCG eventually heard what was happening.

A spokesperson for the group said there had been no prior consultation or communication with them or the island community despite its members overseeing the day-to-day provision at the care centre and flat in Craighouse on behalf of a wider partnership with the HSCP and West Highland Housing Association (WHHA) who provide five other flats in the same building.

A meeting has now been arranged for March 5.

According to the JCCG, its previous chairperson was assured in early 2020 that the flat’s funding status was secure.

The respite flat was there for Jura residents to convalesce after hospital treatment before returning to their own homes, as well as allowing carers to take much-needed breaks.

‘The HSCP have said that the facility is underused, but even during last year’s pandemic restrictions, the flat was used for a vulnerable community member’s post-mainland hospital recuperation and to allow close family members to stay after a care centre resident’s funeral.

‘At a time when much is being said about mental health, the importance of vulnerable members of the community being able to recuperate in familiar surroundings in their own community cannot be underestimated. As well as the benefits to mental health and wellbeing, the group would question whether it is not more financially cost effective to allow someone to recuperate in the respite flat rather than keeping them in hospital or in a nursing home,’ said the JCCG spokesperson.

Over the years the group has put forward various proposals as to how to help support the cost of the flat, including short-term holiday use for visitors with mobility issues.

The spokesperson added: ‘We’ve now been told WHHA are moving a new tenant into the flat full-time so there is probably not much that can be done now except for us to be given an apology, but we still feel they need to be brought to account for what they did  and that they need to be embarrassed about it.’

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership said: ‘The HSCP issued a letter of apology to the Jura Care Centre Group mid-February, apologising for any concern and distress this has caused to the care group and local community.’

WHHA, which owns the building, confirmed the lease for the flat was recently terminated by the strategic partners and arrangements have been made to let the property.

‘The association will continue to be supportive of the Jura Care Centre Group and strategic partners and will be happy to discuss specific accommodation requirements that will support the Jura community,’ said a WHHA spokesperson.

Caption: Jura Care Centre in Craighouse