Fife Council care services privatisation defended

The Scottish Government has defended Fife Council’s controversial decision to privatise its residential care service.

Despite a plea from Labour MSP Claire Baker for the government to join scores of Fifers in condemning the move, public health minister Shona Robison said the SNP/Lib Dem-run local authority had not taken the decision lightly.

Mrs Baker wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond urging the council to reconsider the decision, which was taken by the social work and health committee last month.

She said around 150 Fifers have given their support to the letter since it was sent two weeks ago.

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP previously proposed a motion to have the matter debated at the Scottish Parliament but failed to win the backing of SNP, Tory and Lib Dem colleagues.

“Fifers deserve better than SNP-led care home cuts and Fife Council needs to re-think its decision,” she said.

“The fact that so many people have got behind this letter shows just how strongly people feel about the SNP-led decision to axe future funding for council care homes.

“I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet shown their support to get in touch.

“I hope Alex Salmond listens to our concerns and joins the vast number of people calling for him to condemn this damaging decision.

“Fife Council needs to come to its senses and realise that giving up on its provision of elderly care is wrong and is causing great concern among staff, residents and their families.

“The focus should be on how the council can improve its provision of elderly care — not give up on it entirely.

“What is happening to services for the elderly in Fife is unacceptable.”

Responding to Mrs Baker, Ms Robison said, “I appreciate this must be an unsettling time for the residents, families and staff affected by this decision.

“However, I understand Fife Council have been considering for some time a number of options on the future provision of residential and respite and day care services for older people.

“From the information available I do not think Fife Council’s final decision was taken lightly.

“I believe the focus should now be on ensuring that the high quality of care that is currently provided continues and that transition of residential provision be handled appropriately with the least disruption to residents, families and staff.”