South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has called for Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership to come clean over whether they intend to commission a care and nursing home in the Esk Valley.
The partnership’s Integrated Joint Board (IJB) agreed at their meeting on 29 November 2016 to approve the commissioning of a detailed business case proposal for a range of services on a single site including very sheltered housing, a bed based facility which would include residential and nursing care places, communal areas to be shared by very sheltered housing tenants and care home residents, day care in the communal areas, a therapy area for use by a range of services, central shared administration and a health centre within the development.
The report to members of the IJB in November stated that “Taking into account the current use of Thomas Hope Hospital, the number of people from Esk Valley in residential care and the potential to develop alternative new ways of supporting Older Adults, the Esk Valley report has suggested that a combined residential and nursing facility of between 22 to 26 beds could meet the needs of Older Adults in the future. This would allow for a notional split of 6 nursing beds and 16/20 residential beds”
The report to IJB members in November also went on to say that it was anticipated that this business case “will be completed by April 2017” but to date no case has yet been brought before the IJB.
Since then it has been reported that the minutes of the Esk Valley Project reference group state that since last November, the situation has changed and that Gary Sheehan, the Health and Social Care Partnership’s Annandale and Eskdale locality manager has indicated that as a result of budget restraints there are now no plans to commission residential and nursing places, despite no such decision being made by the board.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has written to the Health and Social Care Partnership’s Chief Operating officer Julie White urging then Partnership to come clean with local people over whether the plan for a acre and nursing home has been ditched.
Colin Smyth said, “Everyone was under the impression that agreed way forward by the Health and Social Care partnership was to create a range of services on a single site including residential and nursing care places. In fact the partnership itself concluded that there is a need for between 22 and 26 such places. There is not only a lot of frustration locally that despite a commitment to complete a business case on the matter by April, nothing has so far come forward but also growing concern that the partnership may be about to renege on previous commitments. I have written to the partnership asking them to come clean with the local community as quickly as possible and let them know what their plans are, which hopefully is to stick to the original commitments. Everyone appreciates that the austerity measures from Government are putting huge pressures on health care budgets and finding the funding needed for new developments, whilst at the same time having to make big cuts, will be very challenging. But proposals to deliver residential and nursing care provision in the Esk Valley are long overdue and are crucial to ensure people don’t have to leave the area when they need care”.
Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh said, “The plans to reshape health and social care for the Esk Valley have been developed over a long period of time and it has been a challenging process to get to the stage we are now. I would be deeply disappointed if there was any watering down of the plans at this stage because a lot of stakeholders have been involved and we reached what everyone thought was an agreed way forward. It’s important for the health and social care partnership to stick to their initial commitments and to let the community know what the position is as soon as possible. As a local councillor I’m certainly committed to delivering our vison for improved health and social care for the people of Esk Valley.”