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Lack of managers raise care home concerns


Concerns have been raised for the future of troubled care homes after a “leaked” document showed a lack of managers in post.

Labour produced a “contingency update” from Southern Cross, the UK’s biggest private care provider which hit financial difficulties earlier this year.

The Scottish government accused the party of creating “scare stories” and said progress is being made to ensure stability.

The document revealed that 14 of the firm’s 97 homes in Scotland did not have a manager as of July 14.

A further 13 care homes had a manager in post for less than three months.

The document also showed that 41 homes had an occupancy rate of less than 88%. One of those homes is described as closed, while another is earmarked for closure.

Labour said there are concerns about the profitability of 30 homes, raising questions over their future viability.

Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “It is crystal clear from this report that some care homes are more profitable than others and private care providers will inevitability cherry-pick the most lucrative services.

“The SNP cannot afford to sit on their hands any longer. It is essential that a Scotland-wide contingency plan is put in place to ensure that no older person is let down.

“Just because somebody’s mum or dad is staying in a care home that isn’t making money, doesn’t mean they should suffer as a result - the government has a duty to step in.

“It’s simply not good enough for the SNP government to take a back seat and leave Scotland’s 32 different local authorities to pick up the pieces.

“Scottish Labour secured a commitment from the first minister that the care of older people would not be compromised as a result of Southern Cross going under, and we will hold him to that.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “It is irresponsible to create scare stories which raise the fears of residents and their families.

“Progress is being made by all parties in their work to resolve the situation facing Southern Cross in a way which ensures stability and continuity of service.”



Readers' comments (6)

  • This is a real shame but i think that anyone who has worked in the care home environment knows the pressure that managers are under to perform. These managers are very dedicated and well trained nurses and they are often on call 24/7 and have to comply with care standards and other regulations, fill beds, liase with residents and relatives, manage staff and nurse - and MORE - on a daily basis. They are under supported and under appreciated. So it really isn't suprising that within a group of homes that is struggling that the number of managers is lacking.

    This is a tough job and should not be taken on lightly but it is very rewarding. However care home providers need to support and listen to their managers more and develop strategies so that a work life balance can be achieved. I hope that Southern Cross can find time to do this in the midst of their turmoil.

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  • it is just an absolute nonsense and totally pathetic that britain cannot get their act together. go and take a trip round switzerland and see how they run their care homes without making a big issue out of it and provide excellent professional services for care and recreation, highly specialised care for those with dementia, comfortable and practical homes fit for purpose and interesting and attractive job opportunities! what is the problem in the UK and it is not lack of money, it is poor attitude and totally careless organisation which the elderly are forced to suffer.

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  • Gemma Watford

    I agree with the above comment, we have poor attitudes here in the UK, regarding working in the care sector. What we actually need, is managers with life experience and those who have previously worked as a healthcare assistant or similar and who have nursing knowledge, which underpins their practice, and their continuing professional development. Also, an area I've found problematic, in the sector is manual handling of patients, where their seems to be a lot of non-compliance with staff of all groups, for ease of convenience and expediency. I would like to see care homes made accountable or closed down, and for them to accept liability for their actions, if they fail to comlpy with regulations no matter how minor the incident.

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  • In Switzerland old peoples' and nursing homes which may be combined are run by an administrative director who has an MBA or equivalent with an office support worker and a Director of Nursing. The staff is made up of cleaners, kitchen staff, healthcare assistants trained and registered nurses. extra help may also be provided for basic tasks such as assistance with feeding by non qualified staff and volunteers, and there are usually also one or two student nurses and HCAs on a placement.

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  • contunuation of above
    standards of care are generally high and a recent study has shown that more abuse occurs in patients homes by relatives than in care homes.

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  • I do hate these spaces for comments which you cannot edit after you have submitted them but I should also add to the above that many of the staff are trained in care of the elderly and thus normally highly motivated and take their work very seriously. many homes have a special wing for the care of those with dementia and this is a requirement for all new homes to include a dedicated wing for people with dementia with specially trained HCAs and nurses. there are excellent opportunities for CPD in the latest developments appropriate to service staff are working in.

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