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Anger has erupted following last week’s bombshell news that the Budhmor Care Home at Portree is to close its doors at the end of June.
Both operator CrossReach and the Church of Scotland have been accused of walking away from their responsibilities to residents, staff, and the wider community.
NHS Highland broke the news on Tuesday of last week that work was under way to find homes for the 15 residents of Budhmor after operator CrossReach informed NHS Highland 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 health bosses that it will close the care home at the end of June.
NHS Highland and CrossReach said they were working closely to ensure the residents, families and approximately 40 staff were fully informed of the closure programme and a person-centred plan was being developed that would ensure new homes were 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 had 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: ‘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.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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.
‘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.’
But local councillor John Gordon felt the way the news was announced was unacceptable, telling 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: ‘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
Chairman of the Isle of Skye and Raasay Area Committee, Councillor John Gordon. NO-F49-John-Gordon-5cm.jpg