Home Farm care home to be bought and managed by NHS Highland
Home Farm care home in the Isle of Skye is to be bought and wholly managed by NHS Highland, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.
The home is to be purchased by the health board with £900,000 of Scottish Government money.
Staff previously employed by the private operator will have their contracts transferred to the NHS with “improved terms and conditions,” Freeman confirmed.
Home Farm had been under NHS supervision since May, after the home suffered a severe COVID-19 outbreak in which 10 residents died.
The residential care home had been operated by the private care provider HC-One.
But the NHS stepped in to manage the home when a court action brought by the Care Inspectorate saw the provider’s license for the site temporarily revoked.
The Inspectorate brought the legal action after an unannounced inspection triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak found “serious concerns” about the standard of care at the home.
NHS staff were brought in to supervise at that point.
The legal action was dropped in August, however, after the Inspectorate found “significant improvement” had been made.
Announcing the latest move to purchase and take over the home, Freeman said: “NHS Highland has secured the purchase with £900,000 of additional funding from the Scottish Government.
“Transfer of the care home to NHS Highland will involve the transfer of staff into the employment of the NHS with improved terms and conditions and, importantly, job security.
“The future ownership of this home by NHS Highland also provides reassurance for people on the island that provision of residential care in their community will continue”.
Constituency MSP and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The past few months have been distressing for every relative and friend of the residents of Home Farm. I understand that the Care Inspectorate reports demonstrate why they were right to take swift, robust, legal action against the independent owners of Home Farm, HC-One.
“Since that point, NHS Highland have effectively been running the home in terms of management, staff and support and the standard of care has rapidly and significantly increased.
“I am delighted that NHS Highland will be taking over the care home formally with financial support from the Scottish Government.
“I have said from the very beginning that Home Farm must continue to offer care in Skye over the long term. This announcement allows for that to happen.
“I know that nothing will compensate for the distress, grief and agonies of the last few months for those that have lost loved ones or been worried about the health of their friends and family but I hope this announcement provides the reassurance that care home residents in Skye will receive the highest standard of care in Portree.”