Pentland Hill: Home must improve or face closure

Pentland Hill nursing home has been given a November deadline to make improvements or face the prospect of closure. Photograph: Ian Georgeson

Pentland Hill nursing home has been given a November deadline to make improvements or face the prospect of closure. Photograph: Ian Georgeson

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OPERATORS of a troubled city care home have been handed a November deadline to make major improvements or face the prospect of the facility being shut down.

The Pentland Hill nursing home is still not up to standard, months after a damning report revealed serious concerns over the care offered to the elderly.

The Corstorphine facility, which is run by Bupa, has seen numerous residents leave since a block on new admissions was brought in following the Care Inspectorate probe.

Since July eight of the 112 residents have moved out of the home, while it is understood another five have asked the city council to assist in finding them new places elsewhere in the Capital.

A police investigation into four deaths at the facility is ongoing and a meeting was held yesterday between the Care Inspectorate and Bupa, in which the “gravity of the situation” was spelled out to the operator.

While some improvements have been made around staff training plans, serious concerns remain with the way residents are given nourishment and medication.

A source said that “significant improvements” would have to be made by November and that there were still major issues with the way vulnerable people were being treated.

Kate Miller’s mother, Agnes Nisbet, was in the home for three-and-a-half years before she passed away in April 2010 while another family member worked there until last month.

She has previously criticised standards at the home and said she was unsurprised that even after a damning report and high-profile criticism, Bupa had not sorted out the issues.

Ms Miller, 64, of Balerno, said: “I don’t want to see it shut down, but Bupa should not be running it. I don’t think the management have a proper understanding of what old people need. “The same things are coming out about the home but they don’t seem to learn from it at all.

“I think there’s very much a cultural problem there amongst the management, while the staff and nurses are under enormous pressure.”

Health Secretary Alex Neil has met with Bupa to discuss standards in all of its Scottish homes, following the revelations over Pentland Hill. The city council has also been monitoring standards on a near-daily basis.

A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate said: “We served a formal Improvement Notice on Pentland Hill nursing home in August because of serious concerns we found on an unannounced inspection.

“We are not yet satisfied that the care in this home meets the standards we require, but have seen evidence of some improvement.

“The block on new admissions remains. We require this care home to make further, specific improvements by the end of November, at which point we will reassess its licence to operate.”

Richard Jackson, director of operations for Bupa Care Homes said: “We appreciate the support of our partners and are glad that the Care Inspectorate has seen improvements.

“We are committed to putting in whatever resources are needed to sustain these improvements and keep raising standards higher.

“Our residents’ welfare is always our number one priority.”