Council’s plan for care homes ‘is being rewritten’ after public pressure

Campaigners have forced a major U-turn on proposals to leave Larkhall without a care home as South Lanarkshire Council’s plan for care homes closures and huge cuts in bed numbers ‘is being rewritten’ under mounting political pressure.

Save Our Care Homes

Campaigners have been fighting the loss of council run provision.

At a meeting of the Council’s Social Work Committee on Wednesday, councillors heard that plans to leave Larkhall without a care home will be revised and the community is now set to benefit from a new facility that will provide residential care.

Although it is barely a year since SNP and Tory councillors voted to close McWhirter House, and leave Larkhall without any residential beds at all, a new home is now being considered for the Larkhall area.

Labour street stall in Larkhall for Save Our Care Homes

Labour street stall in Larkhall campaigning against the loss of residential care places in the town.

In further developments, plans to close Canderavon House in Stonehouse appear to be ‘on hold’ and it was confirmed that McClymont House in Lanark will continue to operate until a replacement facility is completed.

Labour councillors have also been pressing for long-term beds to be included in the new Blantyre care hub, to prevent Blantyre and the wider Hamilton area losing out on residential care when Kirkton House closes, and have called for further discussion on bed numbers.

Public Meeting to save McWhirter House

A public meeting in September of last year was well attended.

The Save Our Care Homes campaign, launched by South Lanarkshire Labour, has gathered over 1,000 signatures, and will continue to maintain pressure on the SNP administration and press for further discussion on bed numbers throughout the region.

Larkhall councillor Andy Carmichael had this to add:

“This U-turn over care provision in Larkhall proves that the pressure we put on the Council made a difference, but it also confirms that there was something seriously wrong with plans to deprive our community of residential care in the first place. 

The people of Larkhall have shown our campaign great support but I have to say it’s disappointing that of the four councillors to represent the community, I was the only one to actually take a stand against the closure of McWhirter and the loss of residential care locally.”

Andy Carmichael and Andrew Hilland camapaigning against the closure of McWhirter House

Andrew Hilland and Andy Carmichael campaigning against the closure of McWhirter House

The campaign to keep long term care provision in Larkhall has been backed by Andrew Hilland, Labour’s candidate for Lanark and Hamilton East, which includes Larkhall, who welcomed the news saying:

“The SNP’s U-turn on its plans to leave Larkhall without a care home is a major victory for our campaign and the hundreds of local people who signed our petition.

“But the campaign against SNP and Tory cuts to social care services is far from over. The Labour Party will continue to fight for the future of residential care in Larkhall and Lanark, and to ensure the voices of residents, staff and the wider community is heard.”

Monica Lennon and Andrew Hilland

Monica Lennon and Andrew Hilland.

In November of last year, the campaign was taken to the Scottish Parliament when Monica Lennon MSP secured a debate on the future of council-run care home provision in South Lanarkshire.

GMB and Supporters

The campaign went to the Scottish Parliament witht the support of the GMB.

Raising the issue again in Parliament yesterday, Ms Lennon pointed out that “South Lanarkshire Council’s care homes have an excellent reputation and are valued by residents and their families”.

Monica Lennon campaigning against the closure of McWhirter House

Monica Lennon campaigning against the closure of McWhirter House

Ms Lennon added that under the original plan “the council is looking to close care homes, and 100 long-term beds could be lost across South Lanarkshire if the proposals are implemented in full.”

After yesterday’s announcement, Monica Lennon commented on Twitter:

“The SNP-Tory consensus in South Lanarkshire is producing some very worrying plans. Our older people deserve better.”

Councillor Joe Fagan

Joe Fagan is the leader of the Labour councillors on South Lanarkshire Council.

Speaking of the Council’s change of direction, Councillor Joe Fagan, Leader of South Lanarkshire Labour, said:

“The Council’s plan for care homes is being rewritten before our very eyes.

Campaigners have won a huge victory in securing a new care home for Larkhall to replace McWhirter House, but we need to keep up the pressure to ensure that long-term residential beds are included in the new Blantyre facility too.

If the SNP can back down in Larkhall and keep residential care in that community then they can do the same in Blantyre.

South Lanarkshire care homes rank among the best in the country and every one of our localities should have access to the quality care they provide. 

The last Labour Administration set aside £18 million to invest in our care homes and we planned to build three new facilities in South Lanarkshire.

We know services need to be modernised, but we cannot accept ill-thought closures, or drastic reductions in bed numbers, which take the choice of council provision away from our communities.

That’s why we opposed closing facilities without having an adequate replacement in place and it’s why we will keep fighting this campaign.”


10th May 2019

Posted by HLSLabour

1 comment

There should not be a closure the dementia and older people need this home larkhall id a big area so should havr a provision for the elderly

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.