A statement on Tuesday's full council meeting where Councillors Sally Pattle and Stuart Borrowman were unable to bring their care homes motion forward:
"The West Lothian Liberal Democrats are appalled by this week's decision not to allow Councillors to discuss the future of care services in the region.
The motions, which Councillor Sally Pattle of the LibDems had worked on with Councillor Stuart Borrowman and the Council Leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick, called for the doomed National Care Service to be abandoned now before any more money is wasted; and for that money to come directly to the local authority instead, so they are able to invest in their own services.
Councillor Sally Pattle said, “I think we are all acutely aware of the systemic issues surrounding the care sector in Scotland. The Scottish Liberal Democrats firmly believe there should be a step change in social care so that it is provided on a human rights basis, guaranteed for everyone, and considered a normal part of life that merits investment to allow people to achieve their goals and secure their wellbeing.
The proposed National Care Service however, is not the answer.
At a time when health and social care is in crisis, a billion-pound take over by ministers is not what is needed. That money could be spent on proper investment which helps patients and staff on the front line right now.
The SNP Government should listen to COSLA, the trade unions, health board bosses, its own backbenchers and numerous other organisations when they say these proposals should be scrapped.
Instead, we should be funding local authorities properly so that they are able to drive up the quality of care and move quickly to reward staff with better pay, better conditions and career progression.
The horrendous budget choices being faced by the IJB could be solved if the Scottish Government listened to any of the stakeholders involved in frontline social care and gave the money being spent on the doomed National Care Service direct to local government and regional health boards.
That would mean that here in West Lothian, instead of closing care homes and mothballing valuable community assets like St Michael’s Hospital in my ward of Linlithgow, we could instead be investing in these sites to ensure our ageing population gets the quality and choice of care they deserve.
I am therefore extremely disappointed that we were unable to go ahead with our composite motion, which only compounds the perception that the Integrated Joint Board is unaccountable and out of reach.”