Families could sue care home operator over Skye outbreak

The UK’s largest care home operator is facing potential legal action from families of residents who died with coronavirus.

Law firm Leigh Day said it is investigating action regarding HC-One over allegations “systemic failings” at its care homes led to Covid-19 deaths that could otherwise have been avoided.

One of the families involved is that of Colin Harris, one of ten residents who died during a coronavirus outbreak at the Home Farm care home in Portree, Skye, in May, in which 30 residents and 29 staff tested positive.

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HC-One, which has more than 300 care homes across the UK, operated the home at the time.

The Home Farm care home, which was at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak on Skye

Mr Harris’ widow Mandie wants to know what the company knew of the risks to residents from Covid-19 and what it did to protect them.

She also wants answers on the movement of workers between homes and on accepting hospital admissions.

Scotland’s care watchdog the Care Inspectorate launched a court case seeking cancellation of the home’s registration after an inspection in May raised “serious concerns” about the quality of care.

The country’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said inspectors had assessed that at the time “the care home was effectively a risk to life and limb”.

The action was dropped after the Care Inspectorate said “considerable improvements” had been made .

Last week, NHS Highland bought the care home with £900,000 of Scottish Government funding.

The law firm is also investigating the death of a 80-year-old resident during a coronavirus outbreak at an HC-One care home in Nottingham in April, on behalf of their family.

Richard Meeran, a partner at Leigh Day who is representing the families, said: “We have heard so much about what has been done by the Government and by these private companies to protect residents of these care homes, yet the figures are still difficult to find and it is our belief that the true scale of deaths from Covid-19 in privately run care homes in England and Scotland is far worse than we can imagine at this stage.”


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