20 June
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The West Lothian Integration Joint Board (IJB) is responsible for commissioning adult health and social care services and overseeing the delivery of these services in West Lothian.

The IJB is facing a significant budget gap of £17.3 million caused by rising demand for services combined with insufficient levels of funding. In March the IJB agreed to review the options available that would achieve these financial savings.  Part of the IJB's review is to consider whether a larger percentage of service users could be placed into the growing number of independent care homes in West Lothian. 

However, in a move that could prevent the need for long term placement care homes to close, Council Executive today agreed to allocate the IJB with an additional one-off investment of £1.216 million. The funding would be provided to the IJB on the basis that it is used by the IJB to keep all of the council's long term placement care homes open until at least March 2028 (which is the IJB's service planning period), thus safeguarding the long-term care to existing care home residents.

The council has also agreed to work closely with the IJB on reviewing the operation of council care homes to ensure best vale and help secure the future sustainability of council care home provision.

Limecroft, Whitdale and Burngrange are West Lothian's only council run homes offering long term care for 110 residents. Craigmair is used as an interim care facility for short term care while clients await their care home of choice.

Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said:

"The IJB has not made a decision on the future of council run care homes and they have previously said that if alternative ways to find savings are found, none may close at all.

"Despite the incredibly difficult financial position that we face, it is the council's intention that our offer of further financial support would help to guarantee that none of the three care homes offering long term care will have to close, providing much needed stability for residents and their families. We would certainly hope that our offer of funding is accepted and the IJB take the necessary steps to prevent the closure of these homes."

He added: "There is obviously a high degree of concern with this important issue and, given this review could affect some of the most vulnerable people in society, this funding will be used to provide this offer of support to the IJB on the basis that they confirm that they have no plans to close these care homes."  

Last month, West Lothian council's Chief Executive wrote to the First Minister requesting an urgent meeting to include the Chair of the IJB and Trade Union representatives to discuss concerns and spending priorities.

Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick added:

"The exorbitant sums of consultancy fees for National Care Service proposal and the anticipated set up costs could be better spent fully meeting the current demands for care provisions in our local communities and on improving a set of national standards to cover both public and providers of care. We are calling on the Scottish Government to abandon its Bill for National Care Service and provide sufficient levels of funding on an ongoing basis for the West Lothian IJB.

"It is also the case that the problems have been greatly exacerbated by the Scottish Government clawback of Covid 19 funding estimated to be over £10.6 million which were desperately needed for this essential public service for the West Lothian community, and we are calling for these funds to be returned to West Lothian."