Praise for whistleblower in care home abuse claims

Cameron Buchanan. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Cameron Buchanan. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A whistleblower has been praised for raising concerns over alleged physical abuse at an Edinburgh care home.

The complaint has already sparked a police probe into the treatment of residents at Colinton Care Home, which has suspended three of its staff.

Cameron Buchanan MSP said the whistleblower had “shown courage” to raise concerns which often lay “buried”.

He said it was a “good thing” that a culture in which those who spoke out were “persecuted and prosecuted” was starting to change. “Now people realise that whistleblowers play a vital part in uncovering abuse and malpractice, so this is a good sign,” he said.

“While abuse in care homes is not prevalent, it is more common than people think and if there is any truth in these allegations, it would be very disturbing.”

Mr Buchanan also demanded a thorough investigation into the physical abuse allegations at the home, which houses 53 residents.

The police and the home have been unable to confirm how long the investigation will take or any details of the allegations. None of the three carers, who have not been named, have yet been charged with an offence.

Bosses at Four Seasons Health Care (FSHC), which runs six homes across the Capital, including Colinton through subsidiary firm Brighterkind, are now helping the police investigation and have informed relatives of the allegations.

They have also stressed that it was one of their own carers who had reported the alleged incident, that the home has an “active whistleblowing policy” and that it was they who triggered the investigation by passing on concerns to the police.

They said it would be “inappropriate” to add anything to their original statement until the probe has been concluded.

But previously a spokeswoman for the care home provider said the wellbeing of residents was their “priority” and pledged that all concerns would be “investigated in a thorough and transparent way.”

The police, who confirmed that they have received a complaint about the care home, said that their inquiries were still ongoing.

A council spokeswoman said the authority said previously that it was aware of the concerns raised and was working with its partners to address them.

Four Season Health Care runs 350 care homes across the UK, including Guthrie House in Liberton, Merchiston, Castlegreen in Niddrie, St Margaret’s in Newington, and Gilmerton. But an FSHC spokesman has stressed that each home had its own “separate management team and staff”.

A Colinton Care Home nurse was jailed for 15 months in May 2007 for tormenting dementia sufferers. Jeffrey Ednalan, 34, was convicted of a catalogue of abuse including stuffing a deodorant can in the mouth of a 95-year-old man to stop him shouting and two counts of indecent assault.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com