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NHS Highland and Scottish Government hail takeover of Home Farm Care Home on Skye


By Philip Murray

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General news.
General news.

THE takeover of a care home hit by a Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year will help to maintain the improved standards it has shown since then, NHS Highland believes.

The health board has agreed to buy Home Farm Care Home on Skye from its owners HC-One.

Ten of the Portree care home's residents died in the spring after a cluster of coronavirus cases hit the site. Some 30 of the 34 residents and 29 staff all contracted the deadly virus before the local outbreak was halted.

A later unannounced visit by the Care Inspectorate raised "serious and significant concerns", prompting a legal move to remove HC-Ones license to operate the site.

This move was later dropped after all sides agreed that improvements had been made.

But NHS Highland has now bought the site – with assistance from the Scottish Government – to ensure the home's long-term future and continue its improved performance.

NHS Highland is working with HC-One and the Care Inspectorate to establish registration, conclude legal matters and manage the transfer of staff and assets over the coming weeks.

Paul Hawkins, NHS Highland Chief Executive, said: “We have worked constructively with HC-One over the last number of weeks to improve the standards of care within the home, particularly in relation to managing infection control in a Covid environment.

"Securing the future of the home under the Highland Health and Social Care Partnership within the NHS, will enable us to ensure these standards are maintained”.

NHS Highland said its primary aim, throughout the last few months, has been to see the best possible care for the residents of Home Farm care home.

It added that the buy-out "will be able to give security to the residents of Home Farm, their relatives and the staff that care for them, when the transfer of ownership takes place".

Helping to announced the take-over, Scottish Government Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "Safeguarding the wellbeing of the current residents at Home Farm in Portree has been a priority for the Scottish Government and I am pleased that NHS Highland has negotiated to purchase this care home.

“Everyone in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights and it is good that improvements have been made in the quality of care offered at the care home with support from the health board, the Care Inspectorate and other partners. This includes practices related to infection prevention and control, use of PPE, staff training, cleaning of premises and the maintenance of adequate staffing levels.

“The future ownership of this home by NHS Highland also provides an assurance for people on Skye that provision of residential nursing care in their community will continue.

“Early this week the First Minister announced an independent review into how adult social care can be most effectively reformed to deliver a national approach to care and support services. Undoubtedly, the experience of Home Farm through the pandemic will feed into the review which I expect will build upon our existing commitments to improving provision.

“We owe it to those who use and work in adult social care services to acknowledge these challenges, to learn from them, and to consider carefully how we can most effectively plan and deliver care in the future.”

More information on the take-over will be communicated to residents, their relatives and staff as the purchase is taken forward.

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