Coronavirus-hit Skye care home faces legal action after seven deaths

14 May 2020, 18:19

Home Farm care home in Portree, Isle of Skye, is facing shutdown
Home Farm care home in Portree, Isle of Skye, is facing shutdown. Picture: Global's Newsroom
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A coronavirus-hit care home on the Isle of Skye where seven people have died is facing legal action after inspectors found "serious and significant concerns."

The Covid-19 outbreak at Home Farm in Portree, Scotland, has seen 30 of the 34 residents test positive for the virus, along with a number of staff members.

The Care Inspectorate has submitted an application to a Scottish Sheriff Court seeking the cancellation of the home's registration.

A spokesman for the home said: "This could mean new care arrangements will be put in place for residents.

"We are working closely with partners including NHS Highland to ensure that residents experience appropriate care during this difficult time."

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The action was taken after a recent unannounced inspection of the facility "identified serious and significant concerns about the quality of care experienced by residents".

The spokesman added: "We understand this is a difficult and distressing time for residents, their loved ones and staff at the home.

"However, our first priority is always the health and wellbeing of residents."

The announcement came after it emerged NHS Highland is putting additional resources in place at the care home.

An HC-One spokesman said it "accepted the shortcomings at Home Farm and apologise to our residents, their families, and the local community".

He added: "We are fully committed to making significant improvements at the home and determined to put things right.

"We are disappointed that the Care Inspectorate is taking the steps that it is but we will continue to work in partnership with NHS Highland at the home to implement a robust action plan, with an unwavering focus on delivering the best possible care for residents."

During the daily coronavirus briefing earlier on Thursday, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the health board is "deploying additional NHS resources, including social care management, nursing leadership and direct care" immediately at the home.

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She said: "The assurance that I can give to the residents and to their families, and indeed to the community of Skye, is that the National Health Service will remain actively engaged in the care and support of residents in that care home for as long as we deem it necessary to ensure that effective infection prevention and control is being practised, that the right staffing ratios are there, and the residents are receiving the quality of care that we think that they should be receiving."

Speaking alongside her at the briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "From the steps that have been taken, that should be an indication that there is real concern there and we want to make sure that everything has been done to give the assurance that people would want."

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John Kirk, managing director for Scotland at Home Farm owners HC-One, said: "The situation at Home Farm has evolved rapidly over the past week and we have been incredibly grateful for the support that NHS Highland has provided to us during this time to ensure continuity of care to all residents at Home Farm."

NHS Highland chief executive Paul Hawkins said the board has "responded to the request from the Care Inspectorate and from HC-One to provide support in improving and sustaining the appropriate quality of care for residents and the necessary assistance in this difficult situation".

He added: "We will work closely with the Care Inspectorate and HC-One senior management."

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