Care workers launch campaign to save Edinburgh City Council care homes

Branch Officer David Harold with Jewel House care home members this week.

UNISON, the trade union for social care, has launched a campaign with care staff to save care council run care homes in Edinburgh.  The campaign follows proposals put forward by Edinburgh Integrated Joint Board to close Clovenstone, Ferrylee, Ford’s Road and Jewel House Care Homes. Furthermore, Drumbrae will also close as a care home and switch to hospital-based complex clinical care.

The proposals mean large scale disruption for care residents and 270 care home posts will be deleted and a further 160 care home jobs put at risk.   Care staff are in the process of writing to Edinburgh City Council leader councillor Adam McVey as part of UNISON’s on-going campaign to step in and save these council run care homes.

UNISON are also running an online petition to show councillors the depth of feelings of residents, staff, and those in the wider community. Over 100 people signed the petition in one day. Further campaign action and demonstrations are planned.

Tom Connolly UNISON City of Edinburgh branch secretary said: “Closing four care homes, and changing the role of another, without proper and meaningful consultation is wrong.  It is devastating for care home’s residents. Its also insensitive to staff who have put the health and wellbeing of care residents before themselves and their families throughout this pandemic.  Caring for our vulnerable elderly is a vital job, care homes are essential and care staff deserve support from all of us.”

Greig Kelbie, regional organiser said: “We need the support of the Scottish Government to start planning and financing the next generation of modern fit-for-purpose care homes and Edinburgh councillors should stand up for council run care homes. Making these decisions without a fully costed plan on how community care and care at home would be an adequate replacement is a dangerous precedent to set.

Scotland’s care system already relies too heavily on for-profit care homes. Edinburgh can buck that trend by supporting council-run care homes that focus on providing quality care not making of money.  I urge everyone to back UNISON’s campaign to Save Our Care Homes, and sign, and leave a message, on our online petition.”

Care home staff at Fords Road

David Harrold, UNISON’S Service Conditions Convenor, met with staff from Ford’s Road Care Home today and said afterwards, “Staff are united in their opposition to closures, they see no sense or long-term value in the proposals put forward by the Edinburgh Integrated Joint Board to close Clovenstone, Ferrylee, Ford’s Road and Jewel House Care Homes when it is clear there is no alternative services that can take on the responsibilities and workloads in their absence”.

The meeting at Ford’s Road Care Home was well attended with staff expressing their frustration at their employer’s attitude. One attendee asked how he can receive the £500 government bonus last month, then be told the following that his future employment is in doubt! Another asked why councillors who have praised them throughout the pandemic and lockdown should now be so silent.

Despite this frustration their dedication to those in their care remains. UNISON ask that the public acknowledge this, by sending a clear message to both the Council and IJB that care home staff deserve better and that Edinburgh needs a viable care home system not just for today’s residents for the future generations.

UNISON’s online Edinburgh City Save our Care homes petition here: Edinburgh City – Save Our Care Homes | Megaphone UK Edinburgh City – Save Our Care Homes | Megaphone UK

Comments on why people have signed the online petition include:

  • “Our elderly should be looked after not thrown aside where are they going to put the residents”. Tracey M.
  • “My mother receives care in an Edinburgh council care home. The place and staff as fantastic. I know the confusion that is caused by moving long term residents.” Stewart D.
  • “Need council run care homes not everyone can afford private care”. Sharon S