Those fighting against the closure of McClymont House in Lanark are furious at the decision reached.

As we went to press last week, news was filtering through that the worst case scenario had happened – South Lanarkshire Integrated Joint Board (IJB) had decided to close McClymont House.
The decision was reached by the IJB to close McClymont House in LanarkThe decision was reached by the IJB to close McClymont House in Lanark
The decision was reached by the IJB to close McClymont House in Lanark

Family Panel Condemns Closure of McClymont House by Integrated Joint Board (IJB) South Lanarkshire

The Family Panel, representing concerned family members of residents issued a statement in response to the decision.

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It reads: “This decision comes after a prolonged campaign that commenced in September last year, culminating in a heartbreaking outcome for residents, families, and staff.

"We are absolutely devastated by the news to close McClymont House and are bitterly disappointed that many IJB members have decided to prioritise their statutory obligation to balance the budget over their obligation to protect the frail and elderly in their communities.

“The decision to close McClymont House is perceived as predetermined by the Family Panel, who assert that the consultation process was merely a formality. We believe that the decision to close McClymont House was made a very long time ago and it was rubber-stamped at that point. The consultation process was a tick-box exercise, lacking genuine consideration for the concerns raised by residents and their families.”

Moreover, the Family Panel criticised the handling of the decision-making process, alleging underhanded tactics and bias in the meeting. "We believe the meeting was run in an underhand way, that the decision was made to close McClymont before today, the spokesperson added.

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The closure of McClymont House will have far-reaching consequences, affecting residents, staff, families, and the wider rural Clydesdale community. "There are so many people who will be affected by this news - primarily the residents, the staff who will need to find new jobs and take on hundreds of miles of travel for redeployment," the spokesperson continued.

Despite the devastating outcome, the Family Panel extended gratitude to campaign supporters and acknowledges the dedication of McClymont House staff throughout the turbulent period. The Family Panel also mourned the residents who died during this campaign, individuals they say who should have spent their final weeks and months in comfort and tranquillity. These past months should not have been filled with anxiety and stress. Their memories remain a guiding light in our continued efforts to uphold the dignity and wellbeing of all residents in similar circumstances, said the spokesperson.

In light of the closure decision, the Family Panel now urges the Integrated Joint Board to prioritise the wellbeing of residents and explore all avenues to mitigate the impact of this decision.

"The IJB will now ask the Scottish Government for more funds to see if a reversal of the proposal to McClymont can take place," the spokesperson stated. "We will take time to consider this but now we want the time to spend with our loved ones and our extended family (the staff) in the moments we can cherish in what should have been their forever home."

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The Family Panel remains committed to advocating for the rights and welfare of elderly residents and their families at McClymont House, striving to ensure that their voices are heard and their concerns addressed.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

A spokesman for the IJB told the Gazette: “Proposals to discontinue ongoing provision of residential care at McClymont and Dewar House Care Homes have been approved by the South Lanarkshire Integration Joint Board (IJB) at its meeting of 26 March 2023.

“There was an amendment to the recommendations approved by the IJB, with the IJB agreeing that a further urgent appeal be made to the Scottish Government for financial assistance to help address both immediate and recurring health and social care funding challenges in South Lanarkshire. This request will be sent to the Scottish Government as a priority by the IJB Chief Officer, Professor Soumen Sengupta.

“Under the terms of the amendment the IJB agreed that, should this urgent appeal for assistance be successful before the next regular board meeting in June, the decision regarding both residential care homes would be reconsidered.”

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Professor Sengupta, said: “I understand this has been a worrying time for those individuals affected and would seek to reassure that the ongoing wellbeing of the 11 long-term residents in McClymont House and the 10 long-term residents in Dewar House will remain our primary concern.

“As part of that reassurance, we remain committed to updating those concerned, as well as the wider public, on this appeal to the Scottish Government as and when we can.

“This development notwithstanding, the next steps of process will be now taken forward sensitively and in line with national guidance.

“This will ensure each resident’s individual needs and views are considered properly, safety and wellbeing protected, and within an appropriate timescale.

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“The Care Inspectorate stipulate that in the event that a care home is to be closed that a minimum of 13 weeks’ notice is given for deregistration. Having given careful consideration to the consultation report an extended closure period of 7 months has been recommended and budgeted for. This was approved to provide added reassurance for the 11 and 10 long-term residents of McClymont and Dewar House (respectively) and their families that the process will not be unduly rushed and necessary care will be given to finding an appropriate placement for each resident.

“We will work with residents and families to identify placements that meet their formally assessed needs, be that within an alternative residential care home or a nursing care home.”

The IJB has a legal obligation to have a balanced budget.