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Update: Families of Skye care home Covid-19 victims call for Fatal Accident Inquiry

By Louise Glen

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

Lawyers acting on behalf of families whose loved ones were killed by Covid-19 in a Skye care home are calling for a fatal accident inquiry.

Professor Peter Watson of PB Law, who is working on behalf of some of the families, said "the tragic and disgraceful events at Home Farm demand answers", as he called for the Lord Advocate to call an inquiry.

Ten people died at the Portree care home in May and early June of this year, after Covid-19 was detected there.

Home Farm was purchased by NHS Highland from owners HC-One last week.

Professor Watson said: "The tragic and disgraceful events which surround the tragedies at home farm and in other homes demand answers.

"We will be writing to the Lord Advocate asking if a fatal accident inquiry is to be held. Fatal Accidents and Suddens Deaths (Scotland) Act 2016 allows the Lord Advocate to hold such an inquiry either into individual deaths or to a group of deaths involving the same circumstances. This could mean all deaths at Home Farm or it could mean all deaths in care homes throughout Scotland with similar circumstances."

He continued: "We will be asking the Scottish Government, who has indicated that an inquiry will be held, what type of inquiry this will be.

"Will it be a public inquiry which could incorporate some of the matters to be dealt with at a fatal accident inquiry but also look at wider policy issues about how we regulate care homes and, indeed, how we provide for the care of the elderly, including how do we fund this?"

Professor Watson has been involved with some of the most prominent legal cases of recent years including representing families after the Piper Alpha disaster, Lockerbie and families of 16 victims of the Dunblane Primary School massacre.

He continued: "We await a response from the owners and operators of Home Farm in how they will deal with claims arising from those who have lost family members. They may deal with it directly or they may deal with it through insurers.

"Damages are largely regulated by the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011.

"Damages may be claimed by the immediate family members."

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