A north-east MP has raised concerns over a decision not to reopen a flat designed to care for adults with learning disabilities.
The property, which is located in Murray Street in Elgin and is used for overnight respite care, will remain closed because Moray Council has been unable to meet Health Protection Scotland and Care Inspectorate requirements to comply with post-Covid-19 restrictions.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said the issue was causing “real anxiety” and urged the local authority to do all it can to meet the requirements.
He said: “Having spoken to people who go to Murray Street and heard from local representatives of Enable, I have real concerns about the erosion of services for adults with learning difficulties.
“This flat is in a block of 12, which are operated by Moray Council with most of the tenants living independently, but one flat is set aside for overnight and emergency respite care, but it is also used as a base by support workers during the day for liaising with the other tenants. The news it might not be available to them going forward is causing real anxiety.
“Closing it will have a negative impact on a number of vulnerable individuals, including those who use it on a regular basis for respite. It allows them to attend clubs and other services, which are not in their own town, allowing them a little independence in a safe environment to meet friends and it also allows those who care for them a bit of breathing space, which is important.
“A number of constituents have contacted me about this already, extremely upset and anxious, that they are losing yet another facility used by adult services. One constituent was a regular at Towerview before that facility was closed, and this weekly respite is extremely important for the mental health and wellbeing of users. This is on top of plans to move nighttime care to an office-based system.
“Carers and families have told me they feel that everything is being withdrawn and they just don’t know what to expect next. Added to this is the fact that several months after the Covid restrictions started, there are still no firm dates for adult day services to resume.
“I’ve written to Moray Council urging them not to make hasty decisions and to look at how they can meet the necessary requirements, which I understand were highlighted following a risk assessment carried out at Murray Street. I also understand further guidelines are likely which will impact on day services at the end of August and I hope something can be done to ensure this valuable facility can reopen.”
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A Moray Council spokesperson said: “At the moment, due to the restrictions around Covid-19, it is closed and will remain so as we cannot provide a safe environment.
“We are still unclear as to what services will look like moving forward but we do have some buildings where we are unable to deliver services from after completing a risk assessment and taking into consideration the requirements we would need to meet with Health Protection Scotland and the Care Inspectorate.
“We are due to get further guidance from the Scottish Government on day services and respite at the end of August.”