Council criticised for lack of courtesy

Newbyres Care Home in Gorebridge.
Newbyres Care Home in Gorebridge.

The daughter-in-law of a resident at a Midlothian care home has hit out at the council for its recent 43.8 per cent rise to care charges.

Jill Histon’s father-in-law, former teacher William Mack (93), an Eskbank resident for 58 years, moved into Newbyres Care Home on July 3 this year. While she understands the price rise for the care the dementia sufferer receives, Jill is angry with the way in which the rise from £529.81 a month to £760.68 was made, with the council still paying an extra £249 on top.

She said: “We were faced with a sudden increase of 43.8 per cent, it’s a 29.6 per cent gross increase. On receiving this letter I said to my husband ‘that must be a mistake’. So he contacted the council to find out.

“However, it had increased the fees, because the council is in debt and other homes do cost more for the care. So I totally accept that. I don’t think anything can be done now, it’s gone through the council. I don’t believe they will backtrack at all.

“However there are times in life when you have take a moral stand and say that this is wrong. There has been no notice to say that this would go up. The way it was handled is reprehensible.

“It’s wrong that the council has passed an increase of 43.8 per cent and hasn’t had the courtesy to say to clients ‘very sorry but we do have to do this’ and tell us the increase. My in-laws have saved a lot of money throughout their lives and this money is going to go quickly.”

Jill has taken the issue to her local councillor.

She said: “I have spoken to local councillor Peter Smaill (Con) and I will be contacting the local MP as I think it’s incumbent on me to raise awareness of this issue.”

A council spokesman defended the increased charges: “The model of care in Newbyres has changed significantly in recent years with major changes to the staffing arrangements and the introduction of a nursing team to the unit. These changes are a response to the needs of residents and our commitment to the delivery of high quality care. The increase in charges reflects these changes. Charges for individuals who are ‘self funders’ vary across care homes in Midlothian.”

However, he added:“We have had representations from families of residents about the lack of consultation on the introduction of the changes and have agreed to delay the implementation of the new charges for existing residents to allow for more time to consider their individual circumstances.”