No shortage of care home beds, insists health board

BY MICHAEL RUSSELL
michael.russell@whfp.co.uk

NHS Highland have denied claims made last week by Skye councillor Hamish Fraser that there is a waiting list for care home places on the island and in Lochalsh and Wester Ross.

In response to last week’s shock closure of the Hilton care home in Broadford, the health authority managed to find alternative accommodation for five residents but were adamant there was no increased pressure on other care homes.

“We currently do not have any people waiting for care home places in Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross,” a spokeswoman added.

This week, Councillor Fraser said: “There are people waiting to go into care home places. I would strongly dispute the suggestion that there is no waiting list. I would like to see the evidence for that. If there is no waiting list I will be delighted but I will also be very surprised if that is the case.

“As far as I am aware there are a lot of people who would like to be in homes locally but who have to move elsewhere.”

Referring to the closure of the Hilton, he added: “We are now 10 beds short on this island. Are the NHS trying to tell me that this loss isn’t going to make a difference?”

The NHS Highland spokeswoman confirmed that “all five residents from Hilton Care Home in Broadford in Skye have been relocated to accommodation to suit their needs. All five residents have been accommodated within their preferences.”

The Hilton closed on Sunday, just five days after owners Fred and Mekameh Pirzadeh told staff and residents that the home was closing.

Documents relating to the Pirzadehs’ tenure show that several members of staff had serious concerns about the way in which the Hilton was run.

Complaints to the Care Inspectorate in April of last year maintained that the staffing situation — where staff had resigned or were on sick leave —  “does not ensure that service users receive an acceptable standard of care and support”; that “appropriate staff recruitment procedures are not being implemented”; and that “appropriate and safe procedures are not being implemented in respect of the safe keeping and administration of medication”

The Care Inspectorate upheld all those complaints and told the complainants this in May 2012.
However, during the most recent inspection in May of this year, the Inspectorate again recorded “unsafe practices in relation to the management and administration of medication” and “limited numbers of staff” working within the care home, plus a number of other concerns, including infection control.Despite these faults, the Inspectorate gave the Hilton an “adequate” grading.

This week the inspectorate had removed all reports relating to the Hilton from its website.
A spokeswoman for the Inspectorate said that, as the Hilton was no longer registered with them, “private matters” such as the unsafe administering of medication could not be revealed.