Bield Housing to close residential care homes
Edinburgh-based Bield Housing, one of Scotland’s biggest providers of elderly care, is to close its residential care homes. Bield’s announcement will see the closure of twelve homes – two of which are in Edinburgh.
Care homes in Haugh Street in Stockbridge and Trinity’s Craighall Gardens are among the twelve properties earmarked for closure over the next twelve to eighteen months.
The company said financial pressures mean the business is having to changing the way it operates, but said it would continue to provide high quality housing and services for older people in Scotland.
In a statement the company said:
Work on our new Business Strategy has been taking place for some months and we are now in a position to share some of the detail of the Strategy that will secure our long-term future and ensure we can continue to provide high quality housing and associated services for older people in Scotland.
This new strategic direction will see a consolidation of services around housing and support services, provide greater clarity around value for money and focus on an improved level of choice for both current and future customers.
The way organisations provide services to older people has changed significantly from the position 20-30 years ago. Changes in technology, the way homes are constructed and the expectations of customers all continue to move at pace. Whilst the majority of our stock is fit for purpose, we need to look to the future to ensure it continues to be sustainable.
We need to provide innovative solutions to address the needs and aspirations of the next generation of older people.
Like others in the in the social care sector we are facing challenges and financial constraints meaning we constantly have to look differently at how we operate. Reliance on the public sector to fund our business continues to be eroded and wider changes in the economic, political and global marketplace have influenced our need for change. To continue as we have done previously would compromise the vital work we do to support and care for thousands of older people across Scotland.
This new strategy will create a new-look Bield that is well positioned for the future – and can continue to provide the best services possible to help improve the lives of older people.
In an environment where costs will continue to increase, often at a rate greater than inflation, where income is under severe pressure due to cuts in local authority funding and a desire to keep rents and service charges affordable, we have agreed that a longer-term solution is required to strengthen our finances and allow us to meet our long-term mission, vision and strategic objectives.
By the end of 2022, we will:
- Seek to be the Housing Provider of choice for Older People in Scotland.
- Develop a menu of tailored services, with greater choice and flexibility for customers.
- Develop Housing with Care solutions and build our new Bield@Home home care service.
- Develop innovative technology solutions to meet the needs of older people by building upon the skills and knowledge of our successful BR24 operation.
- Review and reduce our back office costs considerably, by undertaking a substantial overhead review.
- Continue to develop new homes for older people, and consolidate our geographic footprint.
- Continue to develop services for home owners in Scotland through our successful Owner Services operation.
However, as a result of this new Strategy, we have made the very difficult decision to withdraw from the residential care home market. This is a fundamental step and one which we do not take lightly, but it is in the best interests of the long-term future and sustainability of our organisation.
In addition, we will change existing Very Sheltered Housing Services to a Retirement Housing with Meals service where Housing Support is no longer provided. This model has been successfully rolled out to four developments during the last year.
The decision to make these changes to services, and in particular the withdrawal of care home services, is very much a last resort option. We have carefully considered a wide range of options to continue delivery of these services however, we have been unable to find a solution that will be viable in the longer term.
It is important to stress, where feasible we will continue to operate an element of care provision, through our Bield at Home service and we will work with partners to develop Housing with Care services.
We are aware of the serious impact these changes will make to people who use our services, their families and our staff. Those impacted by the changes have been advised and in the coming weeks and months we will be holding consultation meetings to communicate the reasons for the decision and discuss what options are available to those affected – with the aim of minimising the impact as far as possible.
Our 5 year vision is bold and we aim to transform our organisation by 2022. To start this, we have agreed to make the biggest and hardest changes first and have these implemented within the next 12-18 months.
Our initial 3 priorities are therefore:
- Withdraw from all Registered Care Home provision
- Decommission housing support activity in our Very Sheltered Housing and implement our new Retirement with Meals Service.
- Review our administration and back office costs.
We remain committed to supporting the older people of Scotland and believe these changes will allow us to better position ourselves in this market, where there is clear growth potential.