Testing concerns raised as 15 care home residents die amid coronavirus outbreak in West Lothian

Concerns have been raised over testing and communication at a West Lothian care home where 15 residents have died amid a coronavirus outbreak.

An inspection is taking place at the Redmill Care Home which is operated by HC-One in East Whitburn after the recent cluster where 33 residents have tested positive.

The firm said only one of those is still in their 14-day isolation, while eight staff are also either positive or self-isolating.

Scottish Labour’s Neil Findlay has repeatedly called for an urgent Care Inspectorate investigation at Redmill in the last few weeks and raised concerns at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

The Lothian MSP said: “The situation at Redmill is heartbreaking.

“Families indeed have raised the lack of communication with them and the lack of answers to very basic questions such as ‘has my mum or dad been tested’, ‘when was she tested’, ‘what was the result’ or ‘why am I finding out more information from the media than HC-One’.

“HC-One have provided more information to me than NHS Lothian or the Health and Social Care Partnership or the Care Inspectorate combined.

“Families should not have to write to you, indeed they shouldn’t even have to write to me, to get these answers.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the Care Inspectorate was closely monitoring the home, with the inspection taking place on Tuesday after Monday’s unannounced visit.

Replying to Mr Findlay, she said: “My first response to that and the thoughts of government are with the residents and staff and the families with loved ones at Redmill at this time, and our condolences go to those families who’ve sadly lost relatives.

“There are a number of issues that do need to be addressed; the Care Inspectorate will provide me with their view following their second inspection, the return inspection which as I said is happening yesterday and today, on what level of improvement is required.

“My understanding is that at the moment, a health protection team are in the home twice a week to test residents and staff, but it does feel to me in this as in other areas that communication with residents and their families in particular, and indeed with staff, could be considerably improved.

“I agree families should not have to write to me but if it is the case that HC-One is giving Mr Findlay more information than either NHS Lothian or the Health and Social Care Partnership, then HC-One should be giving that information to families without waiting to be asked and without having to use Mr Findlay as a conduit to do that.

“HC-One has a clear responsibility here as the provider to provide that information to the residents and families in the care home for which they are receiving money to run and make sure that care home is properly provided for.”

NHS Lothian is also leading an investigation into the outbreak at Redmill and another at Milford House Care Home in Edinburgh.

It comes as solicitors representing the families of residents who died at Home Farm Care Home on Skye called for HC-One, its former operator, to be more transparent in its handling of outbreaks.

A total of 10 deaths were recorded – with 30 residents and 29 staff testing positive – in May at the home, which was bought by NHS Highland in a move financed by the Scottish Government.

Pamela Rodgers, associate at PBW Law which is representing multiple families of Home Farm residents, described the latest outbreak at Redmill as “history repeating itself”.

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