Labour leader in bid to save Lothians MS respite centre

SCOTTISH Labour leader Iain Gray is seeking an urgent meeting with health secretary Nicola Sturgeon in a bid to save Scotland's only respite home for people with multiple sclerosis.

Leuchie House, on the outskirts of North Berwick, is run by the Multiple Sclerosis Society which has decided that it will no longer directly provide residential respite care services.

And the home will close later this year unless a new provider is found to take it over.

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Mr Gray, MSP for East Lothian, visited the home along with the area's MP Fiona O'Donnell.

He said: "When we spoke to the guests they were very clear that this was the best holiday option for them and they didn't know what they would do without Leuchie House.

"The decision by the MS Society to stop providing residential respite care is completely at odds with the wishes of users.

"The society's own consultation process shows that 94 per cent of people with MS rate breaks in the society's centres – including Leuchie House – as either very good or good.

"The MS Society argues that these changes are led by the service users, but the outcome of their own consultation would appear to suggest that moves to close down their residential centres are more about cutting costs."

He said inspections by the Care Commission confirmed that people with MS received first-class care at Leuchie House. "It would be terrible if such a tremendous facility was lost, not just for East Lothian but well beyond."