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Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes welcomes news that NHS Highland is to take over a care home hit by Covid-19 deaths earlier this year; 10 residents died at Home Farm care home in Portree after a cluster of infections hit dozens of residents and staff back in the spring


By Philip Murray

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

NHS Highland's takeover of a care home which was at the centre of a Covid-19 cluster has been welcomed by a Ross MSP.

Kate Forbes, whose constituency also includes Skye, has hailed the news that the health board is to buy and run Home Farm care home in Portree.

Ten residents died after an outbreak of Covid-19 at the care home in April infected 30 out of 34 residents and 29 staff.

The Care Inspectorate later lodged legal proceedings to remove the owner HC One's license to operate the site following an unannounced inspection that raised "serious and significant concerns".

The legal move was later dropped after it was agreed that improvements had been made.

But NHS Highland has now taken over the site to ensure its long-term future.

Whilst acknowledging that the past few months have been “distressing for every relative and friend of the residents of Home Farm”, Ms Forbes added that the intervention from NHS Highland – coupled with financial support from the Scottish Government – guaranteed the long-term future of the home.

She 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.”

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