Families of Skye care home Covid victims demand answers

Families of frail elderly residents who died at a care home on the Isle of Skye after contracting Covid-19 are calling for answers after “ineffective” disinfectants were used to help guard against the deadly virus.

Home Farm care  home on the Isle of Skye has been taken over by the Scottish Government after 10 elderly residents died from Covid-19
Home Farm care home on the Isle of Skye has been taken over by the Scottish Government after 10 elderly residents died from Covid-19

The calls come following a damning report into practices at the the privately run Home Farm care home in Portree after 10 people died as the result of an outbreak.

The residence was owned and run by HC-One, the country’s biggest care provider, but has since been bought over by the Scottish Government.

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According to reports in the Sun on Sunday, PBW Law, a legal team representing relatives of the victims, has now written to HC-One to question why proper procedures were not followed.

They said they deserved to know why Public Health Scotland advice was not followed, amid fears similar mistakes could have been made at other facilities across Scotland.

A Care Inspectorate report into practices at the Skye home reported that a chlorine-releasing disinfectant was not used, despite government advice.

It also found the cleaning product in use was “ineffective” against viral agents, but didn’t specify the brand.

Reports suggest a total of 207 residents died from coronavirus in HC-One facilities across Scotland at the height of the pandemic.

Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, backed the families, saying lightning spot checks are needed at homes to ensure life-saving rules are being implemented.

“The use of ineffective cleaning products is an extremely serious matter,” she said.

“It’s important to know whether this practice at Home Farm care home was widespread across HC-One properties, and indeed other care providers.”

A total of 30 residents and 29 staff at Home Farm tested positive for Covid-19 during the outbreak.

A spokeswoman for HC-One refuted the findings.

She said: “We have always used a product effective at killing coronavirus across all HC-One homes.

“Any suggestion that the disinfectant we used was not effective against coronavirus is demonstrably false.”

NHS Highland received government funding of £900,000 to buy Home Farm from HC-One in September.

The transfer to the health board is due to take effect this month, with “improved terms and conditions” for staff.

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