Bupa snubs council bid to run scandal-hit care home

Pentland Hills Care Home is to close. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Pentland Hills Care Home is to close. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A SCANDAL-HIT nursing home is to close despite a last-ditch council bid to take control.

Bupa bosses have pulled the plug on the council’s proposed bid to run Pentland Hills Care Home – a facility criticised by the Care Inspectorate.

Lease negotiations have been rejected by the private care provider, which blamed staffing shortages for the decision to close.

Officials had hoped to save the 120-bed centre in a bid to ease the growing shortage of care home beds and save elderly residents from the upheaval of moving.

Now the council, which had been working closely with the home to raise standards, is
facing the task of rehoming its 55 residents.

Health convener councillor Ricky Henderson said he was “disappointed” by Bupa’s decision and vowed that the council would find suitable accommodation for residents.

He said: “For their [Bupa’s] own reasons they’re not keen on entering into any lease
arrangements with us.

“They’ve made a decision to close the home and that’s it.

“It is disappointing that Bupa have made this decision and that such a number of vulnerable, elderly people have been put in this situation.

“I can well understand the distress that it must be causing residents and their families.

“As a council we will work with anybody and everybody to ensure that people get transferred to accommodation that fits their needs and their care requirements.”

A social worker has been
allocated to each of the residents set to leave Pentland Hills.

Last 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.

Pentland Hills Care Home has been at the centre of a police investigation following the deaths of four residents and had already been threatened with closure unless significant improvements were made.

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”.

Measures to improve care had been made including reducing the number of units within the facility from four to three, halving the number of agency staff employed and giving residents additional support at meal times.

A spokeswoman for Pentland Hill declined to comment on the failed talks but reiterated that the closure was down to staffing shortages.

She said: “We believe that it’s in the best interests of residents to work in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council to carry out a phased, controlled, closure of Pentland Hill.

“We are speaking to the council to explore ways to reduce the impact on residents and safeguard their welfare.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com