Bupa Pentland Hill care home to close

Pentland Hill care home is to close. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Pentland Hill care home is to close. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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HEALTH chiefs are weighing up whether to step in and rescue a scandal-hit private nursing home that has been slated for closure.

The Bupa-run Pentland Hill Care Home announced yesterday it was shutting its doors amid staffing shortages – a move that would uproot 61 elderly residents.

The 120-bed facility has been at the centre of a police probe following the deaths of four residents and had already been threatened with closure unless significant improvements were made.

Now the council, which had been working closely with the home to raise standards, is set to begin talks with the private healthcare provider to take over the reins in a bid to ease the drastic shortage of care home places in the Capital.

Former carer Christina Taylor, who previously spoke out about the facility where residents had been left to soil themselves, said the decision was “long overdue”.

The 60-year-old, who started working at the Corstorphine home when her mother, Agnes Nisbet, became a resident, welcomed council plans to take over as a “new start”.

She said: “This should have happened years ago. I feel quite vindicated now they’re closing but obviously feel for the residents and hope the council do step in.”

She added: “My father and I are delighted that Bupa are moving out.

“They’ve had plenty of good nurses who left because of the way it was being run and the atmosphere in the home. If they’re struggling to recruit new nurses, it’s no surprise, they’re an absolute disgrace.”

Earlier this month, the News reported how hundreds of care home beds in the city are lying empty because they fall foul of industry standards, adding to the mounting bed-blocking crisis in Edinburgh.

The council, which suspended admissions to the home following its poor inspection reports, had hoped to lift the embargo in the coming months.

Health convenor councillor Ricky Henderson said he was “concerned and disappointed” by Bupa’s decision and hoped a solution could be found that was in the best interests of

residents.

He said: “One of the options is for us to negotiate a lease with Bupa for us to run the home initially and provide extra capacity but that’s subject to negotiation.

“In the meantime, residents have got to be kept comfortable and informed. Their interests have got to come first.”

In January, police delivered a report to the procurator fiscal following an investigation into deaths at the centre.

It is still under investigation by the care watchdog, which served a notice to improve.

Despite a series of below par inspections, the privately-run home claimed new managers had spent months “revamping and restructuring” the facility, claiming it was now “safe” and “well-run”.

But, following yesterday’s announcement, care home bosses said it was in the “best interests of residents” to carry out a phased, controlled, closure of the troubled home.

A spokesman said: “We are speaking to the council to explore ways to reduce the impact on residents and safeguard their welfare. The home will not be closed until all residents have been found an appropriate new home.”