Concerns raised over hospital transfers to Home Farm nursing home

NHS Highland has admitted five hospital patients were discharged to Home Farm nursing home in March before ministers introduced routine testing.

The disclosure was made following questions from Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant.

In a briefing with NHS chiefs, she was told that the transfer happened soon after the Portree facility had sanctions lifted for care failures which had prevented new admissions.

She was told the transfer happened following a risk assessment which found the care home’s staffing levels had improved to an adequate standard.

Health bosses explained they were satisfied that the problem had been significantly addressed so transfers took place for five people to Home Farm.

But they said that as soon as there was a suspected case of Covid-19 in Home Farm, the suspension of transfers was reinstated and that remains in place. 

She was also told the transfers took place in March and an updated policy on testing transfers only came out in late April.

Rhoda Grant said: “I am concerned that a care home that had previously been closed to new admissions had this status changed in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At a time when more checks and balances should have been put in place to protect vulnerable people it would appear these had been reduced and people were discharged, untested, to this care home.”