Troubled Dumfries care home set to close

A CARE home for the elderly in Dumfries is to close. Nine residents of Fairfield House in Georgetown will have to move when it shuts.

And up to 20 staff employed by the charity Abbeyfield Scotland Limited could lose their jobs.

The closure decision comes six weeks after the quality of care at the home was branded “unsatisfactory” and staffing called “weak” in an inspection report.

Yesterday, Niall Patterson, chief executive of Abbeyfield Scotland Ltd, said: “The home is no longer financially viable. We cannot charge what it costs to run the home and after a lot of discussions we have no other option but to close it.”

Mr Patterson said there are currently nine residents at the home and 20 staff in employment.

He added: “We will give residents as much time as they need to find suitable accomodation. Some staff will be given redundancy and others we will seek to redeploy in other houses.”

The council stepped in yesterday to try and find alternative accomodation for the residents.

A spokeswoman said: “The council will support and work with residents and their relatives to identify and secure other suitable accommodation.

“There are vacancies in other residential homes across Dumfries and Galloway so alternative accommodation is available for all the residents if required.

“If any residents or their relatives need any assistance during this time, they will be able to contact the worker allocated to the resident.”

Fairfield House was the subject of an inspection by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland on January 23 this year.

In his report, inspector Chris Barratt gave the quality of care and support the lowest grade of “unsatisfactory”.

He said the environment was “adequate”, quality of staffing was “weak” and management and leadership were “adequate”.

Mr Barratt said the inspectorate had “continuing concerns” about how medicines were administered and that five of seven requirements made during a previous inspection “were either unmet or partially met”.

Progress on an improvement plan had slowed because the care home had “operated for a number of weeks with no depute and then the manager had been absent due to ill health”.

Asked if the poor grades had anything to do with the home’s closure, Mr Patterson said: “It is a question of financial viability.”

In a statement he added: “As a charity we need to cover our costs.

“With standards and expectations constantly and quite rightly rising, a home of this size cannot provide residents with a service of the high quality they need and as required by the Care Inspectorate.”