Coronavirus-hit care home in Skye still causing concern, court told
Concerns remain over the operators of a coronavirus-hit care home in Skye that could have its registration suspended, a court has been told.
Roddy Dunlop QC appeared via video link at Inverness Sheriff Court on behalf of Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland, which is pursuing the legal action against HC-One, operators of the Home Farm premises.
The case was launched in March after it was revealed 10 residents had died at the care home amid the outbreak, while 30 others and 29 staff have tested positive for Covid-19 at the facility in Portree.
Mr Dunlop submitted a motion before Sheriff Eilidh MacDonald on Wednesday, which aims for remaining concerns to be addressed by the firm, with an option to come back to the judge in two weeks seeking to strip it of its licence if this is not done.
The lawyer said: “I’m happy to recount improvements at the home, my lady, but it would be wrong for me to suggest that the concerns of the pursuer had been completely allayed.
“In particular, my lady, it is the sense of the pursuer’s inspectors that to an extent the improvements are a result of and indeed contingent on the intervention of NHS Highland.
“It is known for obvious reasons the intervention of NHS Highland will not and cannot last forever.
“There will come a point in time – and it is anticipated that may be soon – at which NHS Highland require to depart.”
He added: “The concern on the part of the inspectorate is that a robust system with particular emphasis on management is in place for the departure of NHS Highland in order that there will be no reoccurence of the problems that led to the application being made in the first place.”
Mr Dunlop then submitted a motion to allow a further two weeks so “robust systems” could be put in place which address the remaining concerns.
The case first came to the court on May 20 when it was decided there would be three weeks of inspections and collaboration with other stakeholders to see if problems at the premises could be rectified.
Peter Gray QC, representing HC-One, did not oppose the motion for the matter to continue for another two weeks but rejected suggestions about the reason for the improvements.
He said: “I do wish to make it clear that I reject entirely the suggestion made by my learned friend that the improvements that have been made to date at Home Farm are due essentially to the efforts of NHS Highland, rather than those whom I represent.”
The lawyer told the court he will provide evidence improvements that have been made are due to collaboration when the case next calls.
Ms MacDonald continued the matter until June 24.
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