Tory donor and anti-Independence activist on care home staff testing every 30 minutes on BBC Scotland today

Early today and to be repeated every 30 minutes across TV and radio broadcasts:

A care home boss has told the BBC it’s taking more than a week for his staff to receive the results of the regular testing for coronavirus

Robert Kilgour is not just ‘a care home boss.’ He is not the voice of the care home industry. He is a Conservative party donor and chair of the Scottish Business UK group which campaigns against a second independence referendum. He has also funded Think Scotland a conservative-minded website which campaigned to leave the EU.

Yet, once more we see him on BBC Scotland as the apparent voice of the care home industry in Scotland to complain about the Scottish Government’s performance.

Here’s a wee thought. As an affluent businessman, by his own account, why doesn’t he pay privately for the tests to be done quickly, from the enormous fees he charges and which the taxpayer in the end meets?

Why is he there on our screens? Is he the editor’s go-to-guy for a story, as with Prof Pennington or the GMB’s Gary Smith? Does he contact them and they just roll over? Either way the outcome is bias, propaganda.

None of this is new, sadly. In 2018, Wings had this:

Too much to expect BBC to mention that Robert KIlgour who is bumping his gums about care homes is a significant Tory donor and set up a Scottish business campaign group to oppose a future independence referendum, warning that supporters of union with the UK have become too complacent about the threat of secession. The Scottish Business UK group founded by care home entrepreneur Robert Kilgour will announce this month the creation of an advisory board that includes a leading publisher and a former chairman of employers’ lobby CBI Scotland. Also Think Scotland, a conservative-minded website is funded by Scottish unionist businessman Robert Kilgour. Think Scotland is owned by former Tory MSP [now Brexit MSP living in France] Brian Monteith.

https://wingsoverscotland.com/justices-torn-blindfold/#comments

BBC Scotland are not alone in this:

‘Pro-independence’ newspaper, the National, has also given Kilgour space to complain, about PPE orders his staff fail to make in time, apparently unaware of his background or agenda:

https://www.thenational.scot/news/18362398.scottish-care-boss-robert-kilgour-demands-better-ppe-supplies/

20 thoughts on “Tory donor and anti-Independence activist on care home staff testing every 30 minutes on BBC Scotland today”

  1. There is a story about the care home sector that the Disclosure team might examine but won’t.

    Robert Kilgour founded the Four Seasons Care Homes.The path of the company (“troubled” would be putting it mildly) can be seen here, on the link below. Cash cow might be a better description. It is not a path that is untypical among care homes and their operators. Note the names. They crop up in different settings.

    First, how does the sector look now.

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/care-homes-coronavirus

    “The rising cost of PPE and extra staffing to cover for self-isolating workers, combined with continuously falling occupancy rates, are pushing the sector into deep financial hardship….

    …Besides the lack of funding, offshore owners and investors can cash out with short-term profits, which has pushed many care homes to the brink of financial collapse. A report published in November 2019 by the Centre for Health and Public Interest (CHPI), an independent think tank in London, revealed that the 26 largest providers of care home services in the UK – including HC-One, Four Seasons Health Care, Barchester Healthcare and Care UK – pocket around £1.5bn from an annual revenue of £15bn for lease agreements, dividends and debt repayments. These businesses need profit margins of at least 12 per cent to be able to repay their debt, before reinvesting in staffing and the running of their homes, which could be unrealistic in a sector that operates on thin profit margins….

    ….They need at least 80 per cent of beds to be full to

    remain viable, and even a small drop in occupancy rates can hurt their earnings. Four Seasons Health Care, the second-largest provider in the UK, said its profits had been badly hit by a two per cent decline in occupancy rates caused by a rise in elderly deaths during the 2017 winter flu season. The provider, which cares for more than 10,000 people in 190 homes, has been struggling ever since. In April 2019, it was the last of the “big four” providers to be offered up for sale. With its £735m debt pile, Four Seasons is far from the only provider at risk of going bust without help from lenders….

    ….Nick Hood, a business risk adviser, says one in three care home operators could fail in the next three years. He perused the latest set of published accounts for 7,203 operators registered at Companies House and found that 777 of them were technically insolvent with a total value of £1.6bn in negative equity. And to fund their losses, the 7,203 operators have borrowed £6.4bn between them – a figure that has been rising rapidly since the sector was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.”

    Below is the link to the Wiki entry descibing Four Season Care Homes. It looks an unsustainable business model. Perhaps that is what is troubling Mr Kilgour though he has no connection now with Four Seasons?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Seasons_Health_Care

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting indeed. I wonder who will take up the slack when these care homes all start to close down. As with healthcare, care homes should not be private profit making businesses, who decided that was a good idea? It’s obvious when a business starts to fail, they have to cut staff and costs, compromising quality of care, staff and vulnerable residents’ safety. Disgraceful.
      Looks like this situation could escalate and be a nightmare for the Scottish government, no doubt finances are already very stretched. Another Labour/Tory party legacy?

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      1. It was a legacy of the Tory drive to shrink the state in the Thatcher/Major Gov’ts. Get it off the state’s books and make some chums/donors happy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Coinneach. I remember many years ago, when I owned a radio, 😮 Radio4 had a programme about how Thatcher had set the ball rolling for the complete privatisation of the NHS. It all led back to who she’d promised it to, in the U.S. It did not go quite to plan, but it’s getting there now, just taken the Tories abit longer than they wanted it to. The vultures feeding off the people, when the carcass is finished they move onto a new victim.

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      3. In many cases it will be the 3rd sector that will step in. They are often the best performing services . Kilgour really needs looked at but as he is tory he’ll be left alone.

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    2. Four seasons were an absolute mess of an organisations and their services were a disgrace. I didn’t realise Kilgour was involved. This guy needs investigated.

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  2. The testing system for care workers mean that we carry out our test and that test is then logged on the system and we get an e mail to confirm this . The e – mail comes from the UK govt but Kilgour and the BBC will not say that.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s Scotland I’m talking about. Two weeks we were asked to make sure they had our home e mail address. There had been no issues before that results were coming through within 48 hours. Last week we got a notification from the UK Govt that our tests had been logged this is done before they leave our services and then it took nearly a week for results.

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  3. I think that his presence on the airwaves today is wrong for the reasons you have given, but I think, too, it is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the report on the Home Farm care home in Skye, which sets out in detail how bad the performance of HC-One was. The home has been taken over by NHS Highland in a sale which awarded HC-One £900 000 for their failure.

    Why are we not hearing from Mr Gary Smith about the conditions in which his members were working which led to them providing such inadequate service to the residents?

    By broadcasting Mr Kilgour with such regularity takes up a fair amount of time on the schedule to have pieces on the scandal exposed by the report. Where is the ‘Disclosure’ team investigation?

    A substantial amount time on the schedule was given to “Lord” George Robertson’s attack on Mr Richard Leonard as part of the on-going minority right wing Labour coup against the elected leader. (I am not a member of the Labour Party and have not voted for any Labour candidate in any election for many years. I think Mr Leonard is an inadequate leader, but that is an issue for Labour.)

    GMS this morning was a paradigm example of a broadcaster acting as a platform for a particular ideology.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Indeed this guy being ‘an affluent businessman’ who could easily fund the tests, is an important point. These greedy profiteers, who donate to the Tory party, given a platform on the state run TV to actually undermine the Scottish government, is very sinister. Not only do they give money to the Tories, but it seems they are therefore given free reign to say what they like, whether it’s factual or not, all paid for by the license payer. It’s like a wall to wall party political broadcast for the BritNat parties.
    Very Orwellian.

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      1. That has litte bearing on his being given a voice and a major platform in the (so called) Scottish media to mislead the people of Scotland.
        Lots of people are ‘property developers’ and all the other things you mention Sam, but they do not get to ‘criticise’ the Scottish gov on state run TV having given the party in power in London lots of money. What is your point though with regard to John’s article? This guy has a vested interest in attempting to appoint blame onto the Scottish government, for something that is outwith their control. He could pay for tests, he has the dosh. What is his agenda? What are his real motives?

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      2. I don’t care if the guy is God, it still needs to be pointed out that he has a vested interest in appointing blame to others and that he is a Brexiter and actively anti Scottish independence to say the very least.

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  5. More about the effect of the pandemic on the care home sector and its financial stability.

    https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/thousand-care-homes-could-unsustainable-18450553

    “This week, the Chief Executive of Care England, the body which represents care providers in England, has warned that many care homes could be facing bankruptcy as a result of the pandemic which would see some homes close their doors for good.

    Professor Martin Green OBE said the perfect storm of reduced occupancy levels and huge increases in PPE and staffing costs could see some care providers left financially “unsustainable”.

    Professor Green said: “Care providers are facing significant financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

    “Not only have they seen huge increases in the costs of PPE and also staffing because of people self-isolating, but they also had to deal with reduced occupancy levels because of the tragic death of many residents.

    “When you have reduced income; and hugely increased costs, then organisations become unsustainable.

    Earlier this week, leaders of social services in councils across England warned the Government that the sector was facing a crisis and in need of investment.

    A report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services found that the pandemic meant that the sector was now facing an additional £6.6 billion in costs….

    ….Another trade body, the National Care Association, has predicted that as many as 1,000 care homes will close across the country.

    The care sector employs more staff than the NHS and is estimated to be worth £31 billion to the economy.”

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    1. “National Care Association, has predicted that as many as 1,000 care homes will close across the country”
      More likely the private sector will sell off to the public sector per Home Farm, dumping the elderly is impractical, and a political minefield for the Tories.
      With background rumblings over potential litigation, a few more may decide to cut their losses before a full inquiry into Covid concludes…

      Like

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