Bonnyton campaigners hit out at East Ren Council

East Renfrewshire Council has been accused of a litany of errors and bad management of its only council-run care home.

The proverbial Sword of Damocles has swung over Bonnyton House since the council proposed its sale to the private sector earlier this year to offset budget cuts of up to £600,000.

Next month, a new joint board will meet to decide the fate of the facility, but campaigners against its sale say that Bonnyton can be saved without a sell-off and, further, can bring in a profit to the council by implementing a four-point plan.

Campaigner Allan Smillie told The Extra: “The first thing ERC should do is to take the day care centre out of the equation. It’s heamhorraging money and no private buyer would keep this service on. The council is already having to look at new ways of supporting day care.

“That would free up space and savings that can be put into developing the care home for up to 45 residents in total.

“Redeploying staff to care home services would lessen the need to bring in more expensive agency staff, and permanent staff can build a more personal relationship with residents.”

Quoting an independent report by financial analysts Grant Thornton, Mr Smillie puts the blame at the doorstep of the council’s health department.

He said: “The budgets for Bonnyton have consistently understated the true costs. It is Grant Thornton’s opinion that the budgets have been set as a target rather than reflecting the factual position.

“Why were the problems of the subsidised care services not addressed earlier?”

An ERC spokeswoman responded: “Following careful consideration of the council’s proposal for the care home and alternative proposals put forward by families, residents and staff, the review has concluded that the sale of the service is the only viable option.

“The outcome of the review will now be taken to the HSCP board for full consideration and a final decision will be taken then. This will be in October.

“We appreciate that this is a disappointing outcome for those who put forward alternative proposals and will take whatever steps are required to keep everyone informed of progress in the weeks to come.”