Care home capacity in South Ayrshire has increased.

Figures from Public Health Scotland show that the area has 1214 registered places — 16 per cent more than it did in 2011 (1043).

And that’s despite the region having one less care home.

In 2011 South Ayrshire had 32 care homes, now it has 31.

In East Ayrshire, the number of care homes has gone down from 28 (in 2011) to 25 this year.

And capacity has gone down from 1003 in 2011 to 954, representing a five per cent reduction.

South Scotland Regional Labour MSP, Colin Smyth, is concerned over capacity at care homes in the south west and called on the SNP to improve standards and ensure social care staff are paid at least £15 per hour.

He said: “Our care homes really have been at the epicentre of the Covid crisis and staff have been working heroically in incredibly difficult circumstances but too often they are underpaid and don’t get the recognition they deserve.

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“As a result, we have a growing workforce crisis that has pushed services to breaking point.

“Covid and Brexit no doubt exacerbated these problems – but they didn’t create them.

South Scotland Regional Labour MSP Colin Smyth
South Scotland Regional Labour MSP Colin Smyth

“We need to act now to give carers across the south of Scotland a fair deal, starting with pay of at least £15 an hour.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Social care staff do an incredible job and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication.

“While the number of care homes has fallen, this reflects our policy of supporting people to live at home for as long as possible.

“We have previously provided funding to ensure that adult social care staff are paid at least the real living wage.

“Last month, we committed to go further. Our new investment will ensure that adult social care staff who are currently paid the real living wage will get a pay rise of over 5 per cent.

“The Scottish Government has also published a public consultation on the proposed National Care Service, which will oversee the delivery of care, improve standards and, importantly, ensure enhanced pay and conditions for workers.

“For 2021-22 we have provided more than £880 million in additional investment in social care and integration.

“On top of this we have invested a further £300 million in hospital and community care services to help the sector cope with winter pressures.”

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