A care home has had its licence suspended after half its residents died due to Covid-19.
The action was taken at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday against Thornlea Nursing Home, a residential care home in Loanhead, Midlothian, after 15 residents died as a result of coronavirus.
The Care Inspectorate sought an interim order, suspending the registration of the care service under section 65(3) of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.
The suspension will not come into force until January 18, as a number of residents – all with coronavirus – are still being cared for in the home.
David Logan, representing the Care Inspectorate, told the court: “The reason that January 18 is appropriate, is there are still 14 residents in the home.
“And those residents are in the process of being moved by the Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership (HCSP).
“But that’s a complicated business because they have Covid, and a number of them are also suffering from dementia.
“Placing them in an alternative environment is difficult.
“So what the partnership has asked us to do is give them sufficient time to allow that to happen, given the time of year.”
Mr Logan said that when the suspension order was first lodged with the courts, six residents had died due to coronavirus.
By the beginning of December, that had risen to 15 – half of the residents within the home.
He said: “The existing residents in the home… unfortunately that situation has moved on somewhat from when the order was lodged in the court.
“At that point six people had died of Covid. That number is now unfortunately 15.
“Is is half of the residents that were in place. It is unfortunately a very serious situation.”
He added: “I’m not trying to attribute blame, as the home has considerable difficulties with the staff being infected as well.
“The home has had considerable help from the HSCP, and it is the judgment of the pursuers and the partnership that everyone needs to come out of this home until things are sorted out.”
“The agreement is that if the situation was significantly changed, and all concerns addressed, and the defendants wanted to seek a recall, they’d be in a position to do that.”
A representative for Thornlea Nursing Home said the owners had agreed to the interim order.
He added: “The defenders are seeking to work with Midlothian HSCP and the Care Inspectorate and hope in the near future to have the order recalled.
“The owners have also agreed to not seek to attract any new residents into the home between now and January 18.”
Following the hearing, a Care Inspectorate spokesman said: “At the Sheriff Court in Edinburgh today, an order was made to suspend the registration of Thornlea Nursing Home in Loanhead, Midlothian, to take effect from January 18 2021. This order was made with the agreement of both parties.
“The Care Inspectorate is working closely with partners at Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership and the Scottish Government to ensure people living at Thornlea Nursing Home experience safe care.
“We have taken this legal action to ensure people experience safe care following serious concerns raised during an inspection. The suspension of the provider’s registration will allow for transition to alternative care arrangements for residents.
“We continue to monitor the service closely. An inspection report will be published in due course.”