Residents of Scottish care homes are happier with their accommodation than those in any other part of the UK according to a survey.

The findings come as care chiefs threaten to walk away from a national contract over concerns that councils and the Scottish Govern ment are not paying them enough to maintain standards.

The Your Care Rating survey interviewed 821 residents of 43 care homes in Scotland, as well as hundreds of their relative and friends. They were asked about standards of food, cleanliness and access to health as well as their privacy and ability to make choices about activities and care - with the answers used to generate a score out of 1000.

Loading article content

Of those homes putting themselves forward to be assessed, Barchester Healthcare's Seaview house care home in Wick was rated the best in Scotland by residents scoring 981. Overall Scottish homes averaged a score of 897, well ahead of the UK average of 880.

Alex Wilson, north division director at Barchester Healthcare said "we strive to ensure that all of our homes provide care which is highly rated by residents and their relatives."

Douglas Quinn, chairman of the not for profit firm behind the survey Your Care Rating, said "This is our fifth annual survey. For the 2016 Your Care Rating survey we included the views of almost 11,000 family members and friends as well as the residents to give a more rounded view. Most care homes in our survey are doing a very good job, but there is no room for complacency."

He acknowledged that not all homes had been covered by the survey, because they had not come forward. "whatever score a care home receive, we should applaud it for taking part, because that publicly demonstrates their transparency and commitment while offering them an insight into where they can still improve."

The results came as an investigation for the BBC found found care homes in nearly 100 council areas in England had handed care home contracts back to local councils as underfunding had stopped them being viable.

Dr Donald MacAskill, chief executive of umbrella body Scottish Care said he was not surprised by the finding and companies in Scotland had had to do the same . "We know a good number of our providers have handed back work as what they have been offered by the local authorities and integrated joint boards simply could not enable them to deliver dignified safe and adequate care. They would rather lose the work than drive standards even lower.

"We are still in Scotland dominated by a political culture which tries to get the most amount of care for the cheapest price. This is a shameful way for the care of our vulnerable older people to be delivered. We have to find a better way."

He said Scottish Care's own surveys showed one in five care home providers were not confident about still being in business this time next year. "We cannot allow this crisis to grow," he added.