'There must be an investigation into the Care Inspectorate': Scottish councillor speaks on death of father in care home

The son of a resident who died in one of Scotland’s most complained-about care homes has said there should be an investigation into the Care Inspectorate’s handling of complaints during the pandemic.

John Gordon, an independent councillor for the Highland Council, made the comments after it was revealed just 5 per cent of complaints to the Care Inspectorate were fully investigated during the pandemic.

Cllr Gordon’s father, John Angus Gordon, died aged 83 during the pandemic and was a resident of the Home Farm care home in Portree.

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Home Farm suffered ten deaths from Covid-19 and was among those with the most complaints in Scotland with 14.

John Angus Gordon, centre, died in Home Farm care home in Portree with Covid-19.

It was later bought by NHS Highland from the previous operator, HC-One, due to concerns about the quality of care.

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Describing his experience of having a parent in the home, Cllr Gordon said there were aspects of his father’s care he would question.

He said: “At no time did we feel that our father wasn't cared for. There were things that we did question. It was always simple things like his jumper may be dirty or he looked a bit unshaven or unkempt and they would always say to us that 'he was a wee bit awkward that morning'.

“It just seemed a lot of residents were saying the same thing. There were times we would find his medication on his jumper as if he had been given his little pot of pills, but actually nobody had been there just to see him taking them.”

However, the councillor does not blame the staff for the failings of the home or his father’s death, instead saying the wider social care system has let down residents and families.

Cllr Gordon said: “We've been left – like a number of families – with guilt and probably a bit of turmoil, thinking 'was there more going on in the home than we were aware of?'.

"But at the same time I still believe the staff that were there were caring and doing the best that they can, but were part of a system that failed them and failed us as families, but most importantly failed the residents.”

Cllr Gordon said questions must be asked of the social care regulator, the Care Inspectorate and of the Scottish Government’s handling of the care home crisis.

"I think that a lot of the problems that care homes are facing and what we have experienced during the pandemic … ultimately is at the door of the Care Inspectorate,” he said.

“Questions have to be asked of the Care Inspectorate because I do not think they did what they should have been doing, particularly during the pandemic, and a lot of the complaints that have come out since, I feel there has to be an investigation into the Care Inspectorate's dealings.

"When I hear so many complaints weren't dealt with, just particularly during the whole pandemic, and our experience of care, the care home, and the lack of transparency and timely information, the Scottish Government has a lot to answer to in terms of what happened during the pandemic.”

He added: “It's been a very difficult period – to deal with your own grief as well as realise there are so many issues within our care home in a little village and to know that there's been so many complaints that haven't been addressed or dealt with is quite shocking and somebody has to take responsibility for this.

"This is just one care home, but there are so many that I know from e-mails and letters that I get from family members of residents in care homes across the whole of Scotland, that there's a tidal wave of issues that seem to be left unresolved or not being addressed and it just cannot go on. This has to be dealt with.”

HC-One declined to comment when contacted by The Scotsman.

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