South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has warned care homes are “at breaking point” as new figures show capacity in homes falling amid a growing workforce crisis.
New statistics published last week for 2021 show the number of care homes across the south of Scotland has plummeted in the last decade, with the number of registered places falling in almost every local authority in the region.
This comes as workforce shortages continue to wreak havoc across the sector, placing immense pressure on care homes, community services and the wider NHS.
The local MSP called on the SNP to tackle the crisis by improving standards and ensuring social care staff are paid at least £15 per hour.
Colin Smyth said: “Our care homes really have been at the epicentre of the Covid crisis and staff have been working heroically in incredibly difficult circumstances but too often they are underpaid and don’t get the recognition they deserve.
“As a result, we have a growing workforce crisis that has pushed services to breaking point.
“Covid and Brexit no doubt exacerbated these problems – but they didn’t create them.
“More than a decade of mismanagement and the undervaluing of care workers by the Scottish Government has left services on the brink and now we are seeing the consequences.
“Staffing shortages are driving this emergency, and it is little wonder after so many years of shoddy pay and conditions.
“We need to act now to give carers across the south of Scotland a fair deal, starting with pay of at least £15 an hour.”