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‘Another nail in the coffin of keeping health facilities local’: Skye councillor aggrieved at handling of Budhmor care home closure

Councillor John Finlayson has said he has been left disappointed and surprised by the decision to close Budhmor
Councillor John Finlayson has said he has been left disappointed and surprised by the decision to close Budhmor

A Skye councillor has described the decision to close a care facility on the island as “yet another nail in the coffin of keeping health facilities local”.

John Finlayson has been left disappointed and surprised at the announcement by CrossReach to close Budhmor Care Home in Portree.

Mr Finlayson has expressed concern over the impact the closure will have for residents and their families.

The local representative has said he feels the lack of consultation has meant potential solutions have not been explored.

CrossReach say plans were afloat to rebuild the home, however, with challenges faced in recruitment as well as finance, the “extremely difficult decision” has been made to close Budhmor.

Budhmor to close in 13 weeks time

The home will close in June after CrossReach informed NHS Highland of its intention to cease operations.

The care home has facilities to provide respite care for up to 27 residents.

Mr Finlayson said: “I am very disappointed, annoyed and surprised by how things have been handled yet again on Skye with regard to health and social care.

“The closure of Budhmor is yet another nail in the coffin of keeping health facilities local and where they need to be to support the people of Skye and Raasay.

Budhmor care home in Portree is due to close at the end of June.

“Once again communication and consultation with key stakeholders and communities has been poorly handled.”

The home in the island’s capital has long held a strong reputation with locals thanks to the care provided to residents.

However, Mr Finlayson fears this may be tarnished by the approach adopted by CrossReach and NHS Highland.

It has been alleged that staff and family members were only informed of the decision at a meeting this week without any prior warning over the agenda.

How has CrossReach responded?

A CrossReach spokeswoman said a number of factors played a part in the “extremely difficult decision”.

She said: “We were very sorry to have to take this decision. We understand that there is a lot of community disappointment.

“Unfortunately, urgent concerns about the state of the building, which were under discussion with NHS Highland, reached a critical point.

“It became clear that the current building no longer meets the standards required and is not conducive to us delivering the best quality of care possible.

“This along with financial concerns and recruitment concerns made it necessary to make an immediate decision.”

Health board committed to providing support

Louise Bussell, chief officer for community services at NHS Highland, said efforts must be made for increasing the number of care beds required in future.

She said: “We understand that the news is disappointing and upsetting.

“Both NHS Highland and Crossreach are absolutely committed to ensuring that the right support is provided to those impacted by this.

“We have been working with the community for some time about the future of health and care services in north Skye.

The Grandview House care home in Grantown is also due to close later this year. Picture by Sandy McCook

“Our assessment to date is clear that given the current demographic and ageing population we do not envisage a reduction in the need for care beds.

“It is likely more care beds will be required in the future.”

Locals had previously raised funds to keep the service running.

However, after scrapping plans for the rebuild, CrossReach has confirmed these will be returned.

Similar issues in Grantown

A similar situation is unfolding in Grantown.

Grandview House plunged into administration last week, leaving a doubt over the future of its 34 residents.

A meeting was held on Tuesday evening between the operator and family members of residents to discuss the next steps.

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