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Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP calls on owners of coronavirus-hit care home to pay full wages to staff signed off sick; Ian Blackford called on HC-One to point out their "moral and ethical" duties towards staff at Home Farm Care Home in Portree; his comments come after the 10 residents at the Skye site died during Covid-19 outbreak


By Ali Morrison

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Home Farm care home in Portree.
Home Farm care home in Portree.

OWNERS of the stricken Home Farm Care Home on Skye have been urged to pay full wages to staff who are signed off sick with Covid-19.

Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford made the call after writing to HC-One Ltd – owners of the Portree care home where 54 residents and staff tested positive for the virus and 10 residents have subsequently died – to point out their “moral and ethical responsibility” to adequately remunerate staff members who are off sick.

The SNP’s Westminster Leader has also written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to request immediate top up payments for careworkers elsewhere who are facing similar circumstances.

The move follows an approach to the MP by several local care workers who tested positive for Covid-19 and were forced to take sick leave from the privately-run facility. As a result, they have been left reliant on statutory sick pay in place of their usual income.

“This company has a moral and ethical responsibility to pay full wages to staff members who are off sick with Covid-19,” he said.

“It is not acceptable that they should have to deal with the added stress of financial difficulties on top of the very real health concerns they are facing while fighting this disease. Furthermore, we can’t have a situation where anyone feels forced to return to work early as a result of financial restraints.”

Home Farm Care Home is currently the subject of legal action following an unannounced Care Inspectorate visit last week. The Care Inspectorate has since asked the Sheriff Court to cancel the registration of the facility after the inspection raised “serious and significant concerns” about the about the quality of care experienced by residents.

Earlier this week, NHS Highland agreed to immediately deploy additional NHS resources to support staff and residents at Home Farm. The latest move by the Care Inspectorate could end HC-One’s role as the care provider, with NHS Highland taking over completely.

Mr Blackford added: “What has happened at Home Farm has shaken all of us on the Isle of Skye. Our thoughts are with all those who have the virus, those who have died, their families and friends and the wider community.

“This tragic outbreak has shown how Covid-19 can strike any community and how important it remains to stick to the Scottish Government advice to stay at home in order to stop the spread of this terrible virus.”

“It is heartening to learn that NHS Highland is to step up assistance to Home Farm Care Home in light of recent concerns identified by the Care Commission. This will include additional social care management, nursing leadership and direct care in a bid to ensure the best quality of care for residents. These measures will help support frontline staff while ensuring the best possible care for residents during this difficult time.”

Click here to read more coronavirus news.


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