Four Seasons founder warns Scottish care system at ‘tipping point’

Renaissance Care chair Robert Kilgour

Four Seasons founder Robert Kilgour warned Scotland’s care home system is at “tipping point” as he announced the closure of an East Lothian home.

The chairman of Renaissance Care, which operates 12 care homes in Scotland, said Levenhall Care Home in Musselburgh, which is registered to care for 23 residents, was “too small” to survive in the current climate.

Robert said: “After much careful consideration, we have regretfully made the decision to close Levenhall Care Home, which we have owned and operated since 2004, as it is just too small a home to survive in today’s market.

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“The simple fact is that increased regulatory requirements now mean that the building is no longer fit for purpose and, sadly, is unsuitable for upgrading with its narrow corridors and small sized rooms. Despite our substantial investment in capital expenditure and repairs at this home, it has continued to make significant losses over recent years and this situation just cannot continue.”

Robert said the shortage of nurses and introduction of the Scottish Living Wage (SLW) and Apprentice Ley without adequate funding had further contributed to the home’s closure.

The Four Seasons founder said the Scottish government had to do more to support care home providers struggling with the added financial burden of the SLW, which stands at £8.45 an hour.

Three-quarters of Renaissance Care’s residents are local authority funded, with 60-65% of its income spent on staff costs.

Robert branded the introduction of the Apprentice Levy in Scotland as an extra ‘jobs tax’ which was costing Renaissance £47,000 in tax each year.

“I feel very strongly that the independent sector provides good quality of care and very good financial value for taxpayers’ money,” he added.

“However, after several tough years, there is simply no fat left in the sector to absorb the significant increases in costs involved, even if they are welcomed and deserved. I am seriously worried that we are very close to reaching a tipping point for the care home sector in Scotland.”

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