Skye care home provider allowed to continue operating

HC-One will keep providing services at the Home Farm Care Home in Portree until at least June 10.

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The private care home provider for a coronavirus-hit care facility on Skye will be allowed to keep operating for another three weeks.

HC-One will continue providing services at the Home Farm Care Home in Portree until at least June 10.

The Care inspectorate had submitted an application to the sheriff court to end its registration following the deaths of ten residents.

But in a joint minute before Sheriff Eilidh MacDonald at a virtual hearing in Inverness, HC-One and Social Work Improvement Scotland said there had been “substantial improvements” and asked for the motion to be continued for another three weeks.

All but four of Home Farm’s 34 residents and 29 staff have tested positive for Covid-19.

The first case detected at the end of April was the first time coronavirus had been confirmed on Skye.

Earlier this month an unannounced inspection of Home Farm by the Care Inspectorate raised “serious concerns”.

NHS Highland then revealed it would step in to provide “enhanced assistance” to HC-One at its Skye facility, before the Care Inspectorate’s decision to launch legal action.

Roddy Dunlop QC, for Social Work Improvement Scotland, said it was in the best interests of the residents to have as little disruption as possible.

With the assistance of NHS Highland there would be continued monitoring but if there were any concerns these could be addressed, he said.

Weekly inspections of the facility will take place.

Mr Dunlop said the concerns were serious and being addressed for the benefit of the residents and the wider community on Skye.

He told the judge: “There has been a wholesale collaborative approach by all parties involved.

“This has seen substantial improvements, although it would be wrong to suggest that all concerns on the part of the pursuer have been fully addressed.

“This culminated in again a very collaborative meeting attended by all representatives of all interested parties via video conference yesterday.

“The end result of which is that there is a joint motion before your ladyship, that she continue the consideration of the motion that’s been enrolled for a period of three weeks.”

He added: “The purpose of that is manifold but in particular what we seek to do is to have a situation whereby the care of the residents can be continued with as little disruption as is possible.

“Obviously the suspension of the registration would be the nuclear option if I could use that colloquialism.”

Peter Gray for HC-One said there was an “absolute determination” that the shortcomings be addressed and a “firm foundation” built for improvements to be made.

He said: “The matters which have given rise to this application are being taken really seriously by those for whom I act.

“There is an absolute determination that the shortcomings which have been identified should be addressed robustly and I agree with what is being said by my learned friend that the collaborative approach which is now being taken provides a firm foundation to ensure that the necessary improvements are indeed made.”

Sheriff MacDonald said the residents deserved a “rapid and pragmatic” solution and she continued the hearing for another three weeks until June 10.

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