Families begin legal action against Skye care home operator

NO F19 home farm care home
Home Farm Care Home at Portree. Photograph: BBC Scotland. NO F19 home farm care home

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Families who lost loved ones in the Covid-19 outbreak at Home Farm Care Home on Skye are to begin legal proceedings.

Highland Councillor John Gordon, who lost his father at the home in May, is uniting with other bereaved families to address the failings at the home and is calling for others across Scotland to share their concerns about how other care homes have responded to the crisis.

Councillor Gordon said: ‘The situation at Home Farm was appalling but I do not think it is an isolated case. I believe many other care homes in Scotland have also failed to safeguard vulnerable residents like my father at a time when they most needed protection.

Councillor John Gordon who has welcomed news of the deal for NHS Highland to purchase Home Farm care home at Portree. NO-F37-John-Gordon-5cm-1.jpg
Councillor John Gordon.

‘I hope other families in similar circumstances will contact me so that lessons can be learned before more lives are lost.’

Ten residents died at Home Farm Care Home during the outbreak earlier this year. A total of 30 people living in the home tested positive for Covid-19 and 29 staff also tested positive. The operator HC-One is in the process of selling the home to NHS Highland.

Peter Watson of PBW Law, who is acting on behalf of the families, said: ‘The families have already suffered bereavement in the most tragic circumstances. Compounding their loss is the fear that their loves ones could have been protected had the proper procedures been in place.

‘I am writing to the Lord Advocate to ask if a fatal accident inquiry is to be held. I will also ask the Scottish Government, which has indicated that there will be an inquiry, whether this will be a public inquiry, which would enable a proper scrutiny of the regulation of care homes.’

PBW Law is representing Councillor John Gordon, his sister, Mrs Mary Maccaskill and Ms Norma Morrison, who lost her mother Margaret Morrison.

The Care Inspectorate’s report on May 18 detailed a litany of serious failings at the home following a series of unannounced inspections in April and May.

Staff reported residents had been left lying in urine and faeces and the families had raised concerns that there were few infection control measures in place.

The Care Inspectorate team found residents had lost weight during lockdown and that medication was not administered safely or in a timely manner.

Staffing levels were inadequate on numerous occasions and some staff were working  60 hours a week. Staff also did not consistently use PPE in an effective manner to protect themselves and others from the risk of infection. The overall cleanliness of the home also gave rise to serious concerns and infection control measures were lacking.

The Care Inspectorate subsequently applied for cancellation of the care service’s registration under the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, however this application was subsequently withdrawn.



Home Farm Care Home at Portree. Photograph: BBC Scotland.

NO F19 home farm care home



Councillor John Gordon.