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Care Inspectorate begins legal action that could see operator of coronavirus hit care home lose its registration to run the site; there have been seven deaths and 59 Covid-19 infections at the Home Farm care home in Portree, Skye

By Philip Murray

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Home Farm care home in Portree.
Home Farm care home in Portree.

A CARE home at the heart of a Covid-19 hotspot in which seven people have died could lose its registration after the Care Inspectorate issued an application to the sheriff court.

The news comes just hours after the Care Inspectorate "raised serious concerns" about the Home Farm care home on Skye following an unannounced visit.

This prompted a statement from NHS Highland and the Portree-based care home's owners – HC-One – which said NHS staff were now offering staffing cover and support because of those concerns.

The move meant that NHS Highland staff were effectively "running" the care home, which has seen 30 residents and 29 staff infected by the coronavirus since the first case emerged.

And this afternoon, a Care Inspectorate spokesman added: “An inspection has identified serious and significant concerns about the quality of care experienced by residents at Home Farm Care Home in Skye.

“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.

"We have submitted an application to the sheriff court seeking cancellation of the care home’s registration.

"This could mean new care arrangements will be put in place for residents at Home Farm care home.

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

Responding to the news shortly before 4.30pm, Kate Forbes, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: "This is distressing for the local Skye community, acutely affected by the Covid-outbreak at Home Farm.

"NHS Highland has been providing support to the private provider, but confirmed they're effectively running the home. The priority is the highest level of care for residents."

Fellow Highland MSP John Finnie said he had "huge concerns" about the outbreak and said the Care Inspectorate's legal action suggested "something has gone seriously wrong".

He said: “I’ve huge concerns about the Covid19 outbreak at Home Farm and offer my sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones there.

"Care home residents are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and it is vital that every protection is offered to them. That means routine testing, that means issuing staff with the necessary PPE, and it means ensuring distancing and hygiene measures are implemented strictly at all times.

"The Care Inspectorate action suggests that something has gone seriously wrong in this care home and it’s vital that lessons are learned and urgently acted upon. Sadly, that will come too late for at least seven residents who stayed at this home.”

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