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Work is under way to find homes for the 15 residents of Budhmor Care Home in Portree, Skye, after operator CrossReach this week informed health bosses that it was to be permanently closed.
CrossReach, which is accountable to the Church of Scotland’s Social Care Council, has given 13 weeks contractual notice to NHS Highland that it will close the care home at the end of June.
NHS Highland and CrossReach say they are working closely to ensure the residents, families and approximately 40 staff are fully informed of the closure programme and a person-centred plan is being developed that will ensure new homes are identified for residents.
Louise Bussell, NHS Highland’s Chief Officer for Community Services, said it was a sad time for residents, families and staff at Budhmor, which has provided excellent care for people in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross for many years.
‘Our priority will be to work with residents and their families to find new homes for the residents that best meet their care and social needs,’ added Ms Bussell.
‘We will remain in close contact with residents and relatives to ensure they are kept up-to-date as this work continues to progress.’
And she continued: ‘As we lose a vital service which has served the community for many years, it is even more essential that we develop our plans to future-proof health and social care across Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross. We hope CrossReach will be involved in our plans for the future.
‘We are hopeful existing staff at Budhmor will continue to deliver high quality person-centred care in the community, either with NHS Highland or one of our partners. We will work closely with everyone concerned to help manage this process.’
A CrossReach spokeswoman said the decision came after ‘strenuous efforts’ to map a way forward for Budhmor were unsuccessful.
‘It is with real regret the CrossReach Board has made the extremely difficult decision to close Budhmor Care Home,’ she explained.
‘Senior staff have been working with NHS Highland over a number of years to understand what was likely to be needed in the area in future.
‘The long-term provision in relation to health and social care services for older people remains uncertain and has not been able to provide us with a clear and collaborative way forward.
‘We are concerned the current building no longer meets the standards required and is not conducive to us delivering the best quality of care possible.
‘We had hoped to be able to rebuild the home but given the financial situation, the remaining uncertainty over what is needed and challenges with recruitment, we are now unable to do so.
‘The money raised by the community to support a new build will be returned to them and we will be in touch to arrange that. All of these reasons play a part in our decision.
‘However, the needs of the residents will take priority and we will ensure all of the residents have been found suitable alternative accommodation before we finally close the home.
‘We are grateful for the support which we have experienced over many years from the local church and wider community, which has been truly outstanding, and we know there will be huge disappointment at the decision taken.’
However, local councillor John Gordon felt the way the news was announced was unacceptable. He told the Lochaber Times: ‘ The closing of Budhmor has come as a shock to everyone and local members were not informed of the situation until we heard about it in the press which I feel was unsatisfactory.
‘The loss of Budhmor is a huge blow to the Skye community and the short notice given to families and staff about the facility’s closure is I feel not acceptable.
‘There is a dire need for care home places on Skye and the closure of Budhmor adds to an already difficult situation. I will be in contact with both our MSP and MP top see how we can work together to get answers and if at all possible a stay of execution.’
Meanwhile, Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford has called on CrossReach to delay its planned closure and written to chief executive, Viv Dickenson, demanding an urgent meeting.
Mr Blackford commented: ‘I am astonished that today’s announcement of the closure of Budhmor in a few short weeks is being announced without any consultation with the residents, staff, or the wider community.
‘It is not acceptable that CrossReach and the Church of Scotland close the doors on Budhmor and walk away from their responsibilities to residents, staff, and the wider community.
‘The safety and care of residents and future needs of the community must come before any other considerations.
‘Closing this care home and reducing care capacity on Skye without a sustainable long-term plan is an abrogation of responsibility.’
The Budhmor Care Home in Portree which is to close in June this year. Photograph: CrossReach.
NO F13 Outside view Budhmor