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Negotiations to move Home Farm Care Home in Portree into public ownership are under way according to Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford.
A courtroom in Inverness Sheriff Court heard last Wednesday June 24, that current operators HC-One, have been asked to provide information within the next three weeks about the long-term running of the care home.
An initial agreement allowed HC-One, with assistance from NHS Highland, three weeks to address all concerns in order to minimise disruption. However, it now appears that talks are well under way to transfer full ownership to the public health body.
Speaking following the court case, Mr Blackford said: ‘I am delighted that today’s court action paves the way for transfer of ownership of Home Farm Care Home on Skye to NHS Highland.
‘This is a good day for the island. I would like to place on record my thanks to NHS Highland and to the Scottish Government for the leadership they have shown throughout this process.
‘The priority for me has always been that residents are supported and receive the first-class care that we would all expect to be delivered. I know this has been a worrying time for everyone involved, however, I hope that as the home is passed into the ownership of NHS Highland this gives peace of my mind to those affected that the best possible care will be delivered.
‘What is important now is that HC-One, the current owners, must graciously step aside and that is done at a modest price as the care home is passed over into public hands.’
The Isle of Skye-based centre has been in the news in recent months after the untimely death of 10 residents from Covid-19. An inspection by the Care Inspectorate raised ‘serious and significant concerns’ on the ability of private company to provide sufficient levels of care to the residents and doubts were raised locally in the aftermath of the outbreak of the suitability of the company as an on- going care provider at the home.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant, however, believes the decision to agree to a joint motion for a continuation of the proceedings will only continue the uncertainty for the people living there and for their relatives.
‘These people have already been through enough,’ she said.
She added that it was encouraging to know care levels have improved since the drafting in of NHS Highland staff to the Portree facility, but she said it was ‘depressing to hear that a further inspection carried out at the home raised some issues in relation to the use of PPE and the storage of medicines’. She said it was ‘unbelievable that fundamental aspects of care are still slipping’.
Further fears were raised last week as it emerged that a staff member had tested positive for a second time after initially seeming to have recovered from the virus.