Fury as Gorebridge care home wages downgraded

Newbyres Care Village in Gorebridge
Newbyres Care Village in Gorebridge

Staff at Newbyres Care Village have been forced to re-apply for their jobs, which will be on a lower pay grade than they currently receive.

One worker there, who didn’t want to be named, told the Advertiser that the new pay grade is expected to start on June 20.

She said: “They are putting our staff grades down. We were all served with a 90 day notice in April.

“We will all be on new contracts. It’s the same jobs but longer hours and less money.

“Staff have to apply for their jobs if they wish to keep them. So it’s lower grades for the same job. It’s appalling.

“They are going to bring in four staff nurses funded by the NHS and they get £35,000 a year. They will work day shift and back shift. But are not required on night shift. Even though it’s a 24 hour service.

“The proposals will have a huge impact on residents.

“At the moment staff morale is rock bottom. We all feel utterly betrayed.

“It’s us that kept the place afloat.”

The care worker revealed why she is speaking out.

She said: “We do it because we love the job. It takes a special kind of person to do it.

“We just totally feel that we have all been kicked in the teeth.

“What’s worse is that because there is a culture of bullying, people are frightened to speak out about it in case they can’t get their jobs. Even if it is on lower money.

“To be honest, we would get the same money working in Aldis, but we do it because we love it.

“I just feel that the public should know about this. It’s 
totally appalling.

“The unions are fighting this as it’s not right.

“It’s a shame, as it’s a lovely place. If it was only getting run properly. There are some 
really good carers up there and they are going to lose them, which is really sad.

“They have went through goodness knows how many managers. It’s absolutely shocking.

“They are getting good care, but it would be better if there wasn’t as much agency staff.

“We have been told that if we don’t get our jobs we can go to the council through switch. They should be trying to make staff want to stay.”

Midlothian Council explained that the proposed staff changes come from a review following damning reports of the Gorebridge care home.

The Gorebridge care home was heavily criticised in two Care Inspectorate reports last year. However, a recent report noted improvements.

The home, which has 60 residents, was rated “weak” on several aspects of its operation in a report late last year by the Care Inspectorate. This was a surprise follow-up to a poor report earlier in 2015.

A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “Whilst we are going through a review of the service it would be inappropriate to comment in detail.

“However, I can confirm that a review of the care staffing structure within Newbyres Village Care Home is currently underway and we are in the process of consulting with our employees and trade unions on draft proposals to support the continuing improvement of the service.

“The aim of the proposals is to provide a more responsive, holistic, person-centred service which will meet the care needs of Newbyres Village Care Home residents.

“The employees who are affected by the proposals have been advised on the process to be followed in accordance with relevant council policies and procedures.

“The proposals, which have formed the basis of our consultation process with the affected employee and trade unions, have been developed from information gathered as a result of a culture audit, managerial observation and Care Inspectorate reports.

“One of the recommendations from the recent Care Inspectorate was to review the staff structure to ensure it was meeting the changing needs of residents.”

Midlothian Council has reassured staff at the care home that there will be no redundancies from the review, given that the local authority has a no compulsory redundancy policy.

The spokesman added: “The consultation period has been extended to allow for our trade union colleagues to make further representations on behalf of their members.

“If colleagues at Newbyres are worried about any aspects of the proposals, they should approach their line manager to discuss these further.

“It is important to note that Midlothian Council has a no compulsory redundancy policy for all permanent employees.

“This means, if employees are unsuccessful in securing, or chose not to apply for, a post in the new structure, they will transfer into SWITCH, the council’s mechanism for securing permanent alternative roles within the council.”