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Parklands Care Homes under fire over 40% fees increase woman believes is ‘breach of contract’


By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Shona Reed with her dad and sister, and Parklands Eilean Dubh Care Home in Fortrose (below).
Shona Reed with her dad and sister, and Parklands Eilean Dubh Care Home in Fortrose (below).

A MAJOR care provider has come under fire from a woman over ever increasing fees she believes are a breach of contract.

Shona Reed has hit out at Parklands Care Homes after seeing fees for her father - who lives in the company’s Eilean Dubh home in Fortrose - increase by 40 per cent over the past two years, despite there being no change to his caring needs.

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Her contract with the firm, which operates 12 care homes across the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire, states fees “will normally increase annually”, but Shona says she has actually seen increases imposed twice each year, without consultation or consent.

After receiving a letter notifying her of the fourth increase she complained.

“It’s not knowing when these letters are coming, with unpredictable fees going up randomly,” she said. “I just want it to be an open and fair process.”

Shona’s parents moved into Eilean Dubh in 2022. Her mother sadly died three months later but her father decided to stay on as he had become settled there.

Parklands Eilean Dubh Care Home .Fortrose..Pic Trevor Martin. ..
Parklands Eilean Dubh Care Home .Fortrose..Pic Trevor Martin. ..

“You sign these care home contracts at quite a stressful period in your life where your parents need more care, and you don’t expect the fees to go up,” she said.

“The fees just need to be really transparent for all the families, so everyone knows what to expect, then you can budget for that.”

After setting out her concerns to Parklands earlier this year Shona was assured by managing director Ron Taylor that, in no increases would be implemented while her complaint was being considered.

However, on April 1 Shona found her account had been charged with the new increased fee - the same occurring a month later.

Parklands stated that this was a clerical error that was “removed until the matter is resolved”.

It has done little to reassure Shona.

“Dad’s getting really good care, and it’s care that he should be paying for,” she said. “I just want them to stop with the bi-annual fee increases, and I want there to be really clear information about why fees are increasing.

“I’m frustrated by it. I just feel like it’s an injustice.”

In her complaint Shona cited advice from the Consumer Marketing Authority to care providers that “if a major, unexpected change becomes necessary which was not provided for in the contract, you must provide extensive notice and engage in meaningful consultation with residents and their representatives.”

It also adds: “Such a change should not take effect without the resident’s consent.”

She went on to talk to Consumer Advice Scotland, which she said suggested that Parklands had breached their contractual agreement.

Parklands boss Ron Taylor ahead of the firm's 30th anniversary celebrations. ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Parklands boss Ron Taylor ahead of the firm's 30th anniversary celebrations. ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

A spokesman for Parklands Care Homes said: “Parklands has acknowledged and is in the process of considering Mrs Reed’s concerns.

“Any price increases implemented by Parklands are made in accordance with the terms of our residency agreements.

“As with all care providers, we have been faced with increased operating costs and a national funding settlement that has failed to keep pace with the rising cost of delivering complex care and support. Any fee increases are necessary to ensure that we can continue to operate, provide a high level of care and support our hard-working employees.

“For example, last April, Parklands increased the basic salary for frontline carers to £12 per hour, a full year before it was introduced nationally. We make no apology for rewarding our employees but it comes at a price – last year our direct labour costs in Highland alone increased by £638,000, up 14 per cent on the previous year. This year’s minimum wage increase of almost 10 per cent will further add to our labour costs.

“Parklands has been investing in the north of Scotland for over 30 years. We are committed to funding new care capacity, improving the condition of our existing homes and supporting our people. We can only do so by ensuring the organisation remains sustainable for the long term.”



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