Local Linlithgow Constituency MSP, Fiona Hyslop, has voiced serious concerns in the Scottish Parliament about the actions of West Lothian Integrated Joint Board. During a Member’s Debate about the future of St Michael’s Hospital in Linlithgow, on Wednesday May 10th, Fiona took the opportunity to raise the issue of their recent proposals to out-source residential care for the elderly and care at home.
Fiona highlighted some of the IJB’s recent decisions, including their announcement of proposals to outsource West Lothian care services for residential care of elderly people and care at home for disabled people and elderly people. Notably, these proposals are being considered partly because of West Lothian Council’s reduced funding for the IJB – despite the fact that West Lothian Council received the second biggest increase to their overall budget (8.9%) in the whole of Scotland. The Board also hold significant financial reserves that they could use, instead of removing vital services.
Fiona asked the Health Minister to look closely at the tactics the IJB are employing and pointed out if their proposals are enacted they will result in future years in no public provision and therefore no certainty of care for elderly and disabled people in West Lothian. Fiona will be writing again to the West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership IJB and has also written to the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care to alert him to her concerns.
“I am concerned that the IJB’s recent proposals mean that in future years they have no interest in owning public care homes or providing public care for the elderly.
“The Public Meeting held in Calder on Tuesday 9th May with over 200 people attending was an expression of community, staff and trade union concern of proposals to outsource West Lothian care services for residential care of elderly people and care at home for disabled people and elderly people.
“West Lothian IJB appears to want to contract out public care services and this will have an impact on certainty of provision and will affect elderly residents care home situation and will impact on care at home – all at a time when the private sector is struggling to recruit and retain staff. The West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership IJB Board members include three Labour Councillors and one Conservative Councillor and they must stand up for continued public provision even if they have not done so to date. There are no opposition SNP Councillors on the Board but I know they continue to also raise concerns.
“I was keen to highlight this urgent matter in Parliament at the earliest opportunity and will be pursuing this further”.