Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Owner announces care home closure in East Lothian

Levenhall home in East Lothian Pic: Morag Kinniburgh

An East Lothian care home is to close after its owner said it could not survive in the current market.

The 16 elderly residents and 27 staff at Levenhall home in Musselburgh - run by Renaissance Care - will need to be rehoused or redeployed.

Chairman Robert Kilgour said the private care sector was "teetering towards the edge of a cliff".

East Lothian Council said it was working to find alternative accommodation for residents.

Mr Kilgour said no closure date had been set as yet as this depended on finding suitable alternative homes for the residents.

'Too small to survive'

He said: "After much careful consideration, we have regretfully made the decision to close Levenhall Care Home, which we have owned and operated since 2004 as it is just too small a home to survive in today's market.

"East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership and the Scottish Care Inspectorate (SCI) have been kept fully informed, and we are working closely with the partnership, staff and relatives to ensure that the disruption to our residents is kept to an absolute minimum, as suitable new accommodation for them is identified.

"We are well aware that this is their home, and some of them have lived there for many years.

"We are very sad to have had to make this decision, especially as our SCI ratings at this home have been consistently high."

Fiona O'Donnell, who is the East Lothian Council spokeswoman for health and social care, said: "We were extremely sorry when Renaissance told us that they were going have to close Levenhall.

"It is a business decision and, we understand, not one that they took lightly.

"East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership has already met with residents, relative and carers and our main focus now is on making sure that we find other suitable accommodation that meets their needs and wishes.

"Residents' welfare and wellbeing is key to successful transition and we are committed to working closely with them, their relatives and Renaissance to ensure that the process is managed in a sensitive and timely manner."

Financial pressures

Thomas Chalmers, a former gardener at the home, told BBC Scotland: "It's quite disturbing, it's frightening what they are doing with the care homes.

"This is for all the local people, so what's going to happen is they are going to be miles away from their families who want to see them.

"They should really reconsider this. It's a lovely care home. It's well looked after and the meals are second to none.

"It's the first I've heard its closing, its quite a surprise."

Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, said many care home providers were facing financial pressures.

He said: "Scottish Care spent 2017 warning about a growing crisis facing the care home sector. It is already clear that 2018 is showing signs of these warnings coming true.

"We are not exaggerating - the care home sector in Scotland is on the brink.

"It has never before faced such challenges to its sustainability and survival. Care homes across Scotland are facing a nurse shortage challenge with 31% of posts vacant, they are struggling to recruit care workers not least because of the relatively low wages they are able to pay.

"Whether a care home is run by a family, a charity or a private organisation, the majority are telling us that they are deeply concerned about their survival in 2018."

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