Letters to the Editor

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Community

Value for public money

Your article on the Funding Cuts to Miners’ Home refers to a statement by a Midlothian Council spokesperson that in 2014-15 an additional £5,000 was made available to the Lothian Mineworkers Convalescent Home over and above the Service Level Agreement, through the Wee Breaks Project but that in 2015-16 the Home was unwilling to continue with this method of funding.

It is not true to say that an additional £5,000 was made available to the Miners’ Home. Applications to Midlothian’s Wee Break Project are made by individual carers. It is the successful applicants (carers) who are awarded £400 (£5,000) and not the Miners’ Home. It is then up to the individual carer to decide whether that should be used to visit Whatton Lodge for a ten day respite/break or used for some other purpose.

It is also not true to say that the Miners’ Home was unwilling to continue with this method of funding. During the past years including 2015 we have continued to co-operate with Midlothian Council and the Wee Breaks Project and have been responsible in encouraging and assisting carers to apply to the Wee Breaks project.

Our Service Level Agreement with Midlothian Council of £10,000 each year allows 120 Midlothian residents to enjoy 10 days respite/full board at Whatton Lodge at a cost to Midlothian Council of £8.40 per person per/day or £84 per/person for 10 days.

If 120 Midlothian carers chose to come to the Miners’ Home for a 10 day/full board/respite/break Midlothian’s Wee Breaks project would cost the Council £48,000 or £400 per person or £40 per person per day. While it should be understand that most carers in Midlothian tend to be the husband or wife of the (cared for person) beneficiary, the intent of the funding in its essential form is to allow the carer to take a break rather than the person being cared for i.e. the elderly or beneficiary.

Therefore the carer may have no familial connection to the cared for person and may choose to use the funding specifically for their own respite. The outcome of this funding design is that it is neither specifically targeted to the elderly or an organisation like the Gullane Miners’ Home. So it is misleading to suggest that the application to this fund can be a like for like replacement of the funding agreement held between Midlothian Council and the Gullane Miners’ Home.

The £10,000 Service Level Agreement with the Council has enabled the Miners’ Home at Gullane over the last 15 years to provide over 2000 places for Midlothian residents with 10 day/full board respite/care. No-one can dispute that the service we provide for Midlothian residents is Value for Public Money.

Ella Egan

Secretary

Lothian Mineworkers Convalescent Home Trust

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