Police investigating deaths at Home Farm nursing home in Skye

Home Farm has been dealing with a major outbreak of Covid-19

Deaths at the Skye nursing home at the centre of a major coronavirus outbreak are subject to a police investigation.

Police Scotland today confirmed to the Free Press that it was probing the circumstances of the deaths of three women aged in their eighties at Home Farm nursing home in Portree.

To date, 10 residents who tested positive for Covid-19 have died since a major outbreak of the virus was confirmed at the nursing home in the final week of April.

More than 60 staff and residents at the home, which is operated by HC-One, have tested positive.

In a statement released this afternoon (Sunday) a spokesperson for Police Scotland told the Free Press: “We can confirm we are investigating the circumstances of the deaths of three women, aged 84, 86 and 88, at Home Farm Care Home on Skye.

“Enquires are continuing.”

Skye councillor John Gordon, whose father John Angus died at the care home on the 5th of May, said: “It is really alarming to hear this.

“I just hope that the families are being kept fully informed and being supported at this time.

“It’s distressing to hear this.”

A spokesperson for the home said: “We are committed to cooperating fully with any investigations into the coronavirus related deaths.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we are thankful for the support of our local staff team, the NHS and our local authority partners.

“We recognised that improvements were needed at Home Farm and therefore apologise to our residents, their families, and the local community.

“The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority and we have already made significant progress.

“We are continuing to make sustained and continued improvements across the home so we can deliver the very best for residents and colleagues at Home Farm.

“We look forward to continuing our strong and effective partnership with NHS Highland as we progress with our robust action plan and remain wholly focused on delivering the best possible care, both now and for the long term.”

The Lord Advocate instructed as of 15th May that “all Covid-19 or presumed Covid-19 deaths where the deceased was resident in a care home when the virus was contracted must be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Last Wednesday operators HC-One were handed a reprieve at a sheriff court hearing in Inverness.

The Care Inspectorate had applied to the court to cancel the company’s registration after an inspection identified “serious and significant concerns”.

The sheriff ruled that HC-One’s registration to operate the coronavirus-hit nursing home in Skye can continue for another three weeks.

The company and Social Work Scotland had said there had been “substantial” improvements at the home and the hearing was adjourned until 10th June.

Local MSP Kate Forbes has said the running of the home was “in effect” now in the hands of NHS Highland.