Scottish care home owners threaten to tear up contracts in cash wrangle

Private care home owners in Scotland are threatening to sever
contracts with local authorities unless the Scottish executive
increases its offer of £80m extra funding.

If they carry out the threat, older people who need care home
places will be left marooned in hospital, triggering a new
bed-blocking crisis.

The ultimatum followed an emergency meeting of representative body
Scottish Care at which the final offer of £406 a week for
publicly-funded patients – put forward by the Convention of
Scottish Local Authorities and the executive – was unanimously

Residential and nursing home owners were holding out for £465
a resident a week.

The meeting was called after the care home providers rejected the
proposal by six to one in a postal vote (news, page 10, 6 March).

Last April, £27m of extra funding from the executive and Cosla
allowed fees to rise by £27 a resident. But Scottish Care
chief executive Joe Campbell warned the executive that a further
£80m would be needed to meet the full costs of caring for
older people.

The 800 members of Scottish Care say the new offer would not cover
new standards on staff training and accommodation.

Campbell said: “The offer is totally inadequate. In seven days, as
soon as our contracts end, we will terminate them. We will not
accept elderly people in our homes at the current rate.”

In a joint statement, deputy health minister Frank McAveety and
Cosla president Pat Watters said they were “angry and disappointed”
by Scottish Care’s decision.

“This is a generous deal offering a record increase for care homes.
We have no option but to withdraw from Scottish Care our offer in
its entirety. It will now be left for private care home owners to
negotiate directly with individual local authorities.”

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