Concern as Bield pulls the plug on care home

Millfielld Gardens care home in Jedburgh, which operator Bield will close next year.
Millfielld Gardens care home in Jedburgh, which operator Bield will close next year.

Families of residents of a Jedburgh care home about to be closed have voiced concerns for their loved ones now they face having to be relocated.

Bield, service provider at the Millfield Gardens care home, revealed last week that it is consolidating its services to ensure the long-term future of the company.

The company stated: “As a result of this new strategy, we have made the very difficult decision to withdraw from the residential care home market.

“This is a fundamental step and one which we do not take lightly, but it is in the best interests of the long-term future and sustainability of our organisation.”

Bield also runs retirement homes in Melrose, Selkirk and Greenlaw, but they will not be affected by this reshuffle.

However, 11 other care homes across Scotland will close over the next 12 to 18 months, affecting 160 elderly people.

While Scottish Borders Council has reassured residents that their continuity of care is “receiving our highest priority”, it is a very uncertain time for them, as well as the care home’s 28 staff.

When we published the story online last week, residents’ loved ones took to our Facebook page to voice their concerns.

Sheelagh Law said her mother, Helen Jackson, is a resident at Millfield.

She told us: “She has been a resident in Millfield for three and a half years, and it took nearly two years for her to settle. A move now would be devastating for her as she is registered blind and has severe dementia.

“She worked at the cottage hospital in Jedburgh for 40 years looking after frail, elderly patients and that was taken from us. Why Jedburgh again?

“Millfield and the fantastic staff are so essential to the folk of this town. The staff go the extra mile for the residents over and over again. We will never be able to replace them. Please, please help us keep this lovely care home.”

Brenda Smith has similar concerns over her mum, Mary Potter. She wrote: “We had mum brought up from Yorkshire back to her home town of Jedburgh.

“She has just settled in at Millfield. How can you tell a 91-year-old person with dementia that she will have to move again? All she wanted was to live out her days back in dear old Jethart.”

And Susan Stewart added: “My mum is a resident in Millfield, has been there now for 18 months and has received wonderful care at all times.

“We took this place for her despite the fact she had lived in Kelso because the waiting list for one of the Kelso homes had 18 people before her.

“Heaven knows what waiting lists are now and how many miles further we will have to travel to visit her.

“This is a wonderful caring home with exceptional staff and needs to be kept open whatever the cost.

“Closing the home will only make waiting lists longer throughout the Borders and cause heartache for relatives, residents and staff.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “We would like to reassure residents and their families that ensuring their continuity of care is receiving our highest priority and we have been working closely with Bield to make sure that the future needs of everyone living in the care home continue to be met.

“We are in close dialogue with them and are supportive of their efforts to find an alternative provider if at all possible for this high-quality and popular home.

“However, contingency plans will be put in place should this not be possible.

“This includes making preparations to reassess the needs of each resident and discuss with them and their families the options available to them in terms of potential relocation to alternative accommodation.

“We appreciate that this is an extremely unsettling time for everyone concerned and intend meeting with residents and their families as a matter of priority to provide them with as much information and reassurance as we can.”

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton confirmed this week that a council officer had indeed met with a representative of Bield to discuss options.

He said: “Councillor Sandy Scott and myself had a meeting today with the council officer.

“There are talks ongoing about Millfield and contingency planning is taking place at Scottish Borders Council.”

“We all identified that keeping the staff there is essentia,l and it’s even more essential that the residents do not need to move. That would be so detrimental to the town.”