Inverness care home ordered to close

Picture: NHS Scotland
Picture: NHS Scotland
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A care home in Inverness faces imminent closure after inspectors branded its operation a high risk for the elderly residents.

The Care Inspectorate has today taken the very rare step of starting the process of cancelling the registration of 35-bed Clachnaharry House Nursing Home in the Highland capital because of serious concerns about the quality of care provided.

The home is operated by RDS Healthcare Ltd, based in Harrow, Middlesex, who now have 14 days to respond with sufficient details of major improvements before the doors are officially shut and the residents are moved elsewhere in the Highlands.

A care service cannot operate unless it is registered with the Care Inspectorate and it will fall upon NHS Highland to find suitable accommodation for the residents.

It is only the second time in four years the Care Inspectorate has taken this serious course of action against a care home in Scotland.

The proposal is made under the provisions of Section 64 of the Public Service Reform (Scotland) Act and follows an Improvement Notice being issued in September.

A subsequent inspection found insufficient evidence of improvement.

A Care Inspectorate spokesperson said: “We have significant concerns about the quality of care offered to elderly and vulnerable residents at Clachnaharry.

“We served a formal Improvement Notice last month but have not seen sufficient evidence of improvement.

“We are therefore proposing to cancel this care home’s licence to operate. The provider now has fourteen days in which to ask us to review our proposal, with reasons.

“At all times the health, safety and well-being of people using care services is paramount. While the majority of care homes in Scotland perform well, we do not hesitate to act on concerns where necessary.

“We are working closely with NHS Highland to safeguard the welfare of all residents.”

Inspectors had initially issued the home’s operators, RDS Healthcare, with a formal improvement notice after finding insufficient staff to meet the needs of elderly residents, poor care planning and areas of the building and grounds which posed a risk to residents.

No one was available for comment at RDS Healthcare, but the company has previously said it was planning a temporary closure of the 35-bed home for a refurbishment.

However, the Care Inspectorate spokesman said: “Our issue is not the condition of the home, but the quality of care.”

It was claimed it was common practice for care providers to announce “refurbishment plans” following poor inspections.

Six residents have already been moved to hospital from the home, leaving a further 17 residents “in limbo” until NHS Highland finds new accommodation.

The health authority is meanwhile trying to locate accommodation for five residents of a care home on Skye, which announced at short notice it is closing.

The owners of Hilton Care Home in Broadford informed 14 staff and its residents it was shutting this weekend.

A health board spokesman said: “NHS Highland will work with the operators to ensure the five residents in Hilton Care Home will be offered appropriate accommodation and care in alternative services as soon as possible.”