Councils accused of failing to act
Care homes boss demands inquiry into ‘wasteful spending’
Robert Kilgour: wasteful spending (pic: Terry Murden)
Scottish care homes entrepreneur Robert Kilgour has accused local authorities of failing to act after he revealed “evidence” of wasteful spending in the sector.
Mr Kilgour, who founded Four Seasons Health Care, the UK’s biggest company in the care industry, obtained documents which he said showed an “misuse of public money” and he has called on the public spending watchdog, the Accounts Commission, to investigate.
He said the documents provided a breakdown of all 32 Scottish local councils’ “wasteful spending on building and running their own elderly care homes”.
After obtaining the information in September, Mr Kilgour, who currently operates 14 homes throughout Scotland, said it was time Scottish local councils were “open and honest” about the costs of building and running their own care homes – in comparison to the funding they provide to independent sector operators.
He insisted the Scottish Government should urgently establish a cost of care review of the NHS, Local Authorities, as well as the voluntary and independent sectors to establish a level playing field for elderly care provision by benchmarking current costs across all sectors.
Mr Kilgour said none of these things have happened, “and to my knowledge no moves are being made towards either happening in the near future, and that is unacceptable.
“Local councils need to address growing inequalities in funding between local authority and independent homes. What is taking place is a blatant misuse of public money, with tens of millions of pounds wasted every year, and still nothing is being done about it.”
Mr Kilgour made FOI requests to every Scottish local authority for a detailed breakdown of their care home operations and made all the responses publicly available on a website www.scottishcare.info
Today he said: “The responses show there is no level playing field when it comes to funding elderly care in Scotland. How can local councils expect independent care homes to operate when they are given far lower funding than councils spend on their own homes?
“I wanted to highlight the double standards in operation and, having done so, expected the Accounts Commission and Scottish Government to act on what is a blatant waste of public money. Sadly, over five months on from being given the required information, they’ve done absolutely nothing towards rectifying the situation.
“I’d like to understand why some authorities feel the need to own and operate their own care homes at a very expensive cost to the taxpayer as opposed to other councils who don’t feel the need.”
Scottish Care chief executive Dr Donald Macaskill said: “The initial research carried out by Mr Kilgour and Renaissance Care served to shine a light on the unequal funding of care home places across Scotland, and it is a matter of real regret that 150 days after the initial research was published we still do not have answers to some critical questions.”