The sale of Bonnyton House has been given the green light, despite almost a year of fervent protest from residents, families and staff.
East Renfrewshire Council’s last remaining care home has faced privatisation since last year’s budget savings proposal, set out to meet a £20 million shortfall over the next three years.
Campaigners had submitted an alternative savings plan, which ERC submitted for independent review before branding it unviable.
At a meeting of the new East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership yesterday (Wednesday), the motion to proceed with the sale was voted through — despite complaints from one NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde board member that more information on the alternatives was needed.
Addressing the meeting, social work and health convener councillor Alan Lafferty confessed “genuine regret” at his vote in favour of selling, and said that it was a “difficult decision and one we would rather not be making. We have to make the best of a very bad mess but it does not relieve our responsibility as a council to provide a best option. We are maintaining the service and jobs.”
Campaigners left the council’s Barrhead offices disappointed. Allan Smillie, whose mother is a resident at Bonnyton, said: “It’s the same old story from the council . There was no imaginative response to the report. The main thing discussed was staff — residents have been ignored, and there was consideration for them only at the end.
“I’m very disappointed and the Save Bonnyton House campaign will need to regroup. I’m not sure we can change it, but we have to think it through.”
Others blamed ERC for not addressing Bonnyton’s budget until now — and at the care home, staff hit out at council officials for failing to show face after a decision had been made.
On Twitter, Laura Stevens (@writerlas) replied: “Another example of @EastRenCouncil ignoring the public. Absolute disgrace.”
A council spokeswoman said: ““We appreciate that this is a disappointing outcome and an anxious time for everyone involved with Bonnyton. We want to assure residents and their families, and our staff, that we will work closely with them during the next 18 months to ensure everyone is supported through the change. No one will lose his or her home as a result of the sale.”