Families have hit out at the "heartbreaking" decision to close a much-loved care home in rural Clydesdale. 

Members of South Lanarkshire's Integrated Joint Board voted on Tuesday in favour of proposals to close McClymont House in Lanark as the region grapples with a £19.5 million shortfall in its adult and older people's social care budget. 

The council-owned premises will be wound down over the next seven months and its elderly residents - some of whom have dementia - relocated to other care homes unless the Scottish Government steps in with emergency funding to save the home. 

Dewar House in Hamilton, which is operated by the council in a leased building, will also close.


The closures are projected to deliver annual savings of around £1.5m for South Lanarkshire's Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), and will affect a total of 21 long-term care home residents. 

The decision comes despite "overwhelming" opposition from relatives and the local community during a three-month consultation, which closed in February. 

More than 3,300 people also signed a petition opposing the closure. 

A spokeswoman for the Family Panel - which represented the views of relatives affected - said: "We are absolutely devastated by the news to close McClymont House and are bitterly disappointed that many IJB members have decided to prioritise their statutory obligation to balance the budget over their statutory obligation to protect the frail and elderly in their communities."

Staff working at McClymont said they were told in outright September last year that the home was to close as part of cost cutting measures, leading to suspicion that health and care leaders in South Lanarkshire had already decided the outcome. 

The spokeswoman for the Family Panel added: "We believe that the decision to close McClymont House was made a very long time ago and it was rubber-stamped at this point. 

"The consultation process was a tick-box exercise, lacking genuine consideration for the concerns raised by residents and their families."

The Herald: The home in Lanark will close until the Scottish Government steps inThe home in Lanark will close until the Scottish Government steps in (Image: Gordon Terris/Herald&Times)

McClymont House was consistently highly rated by inspectors and compared to a "lovely hotel" in feedback from residents. 

Five SNP politicians - MSP Mairi McAllan and councillors Julia Marrs, David Shearer, Ian McAllan, and Ross Clark - wrote to the IJB ahead of the vote urging them to save McClymont, stressing that the "recent public consultation on the proposal found significant and overwhelming evidence of support for keeping open what is the last remaining publicly-run care home in Clydesdale".

Trade union, Unison - which represents many of the care workers based at McClymont - also wrote to Scottish Labour's Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie, urging then to intervene given that South Lanarkshire is a Labour-run council.

Union representative Stephen Smellie, an observer on the IJB, had presented alternative budget proposals to save the home, noting that "maintaining the beds at McClymont we are likely to reduce the number of very expensive care packages that are needed in the community".

The IJB will  make a last-ditch request to the Scottish Government for extra funds to keep both homes open, but if unsuccessful the closures will go ahead. 

A spokesman for South Lanarkshire IJB said the decision "weighed heavily on all concerned".

He added: "Members agreed that a further urgent appeal be made to the Scottish Government for financial assistance to help address both immediate and recurring health and social care funding challenges in South Lanarkshire.

"This request will be sent to the Scottish Government as a priority by the IJB Chief Officer, Professor Soumen Sengupta.

"Under the terms of the amendment members also agreed that, should this urgent appeal for assistance be successful before the next regular Board meeting in June, today’s decision regarding both care homes would be reconsidered."

He added that the IJB has a "legal obligation to have a balanced budget" and that steps towards closure will proceed "sensitively and in line with national guidance" pending a Scottish Government response.

He said: “This will ensure each resident’s individual needs and views are considered properly, safely and wellbeing protected, and within an appropriate timescale."