Relatives raised concerns over care home in 2007

Ronald Simpson's sister was a resident at the controversial facility. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Ronald Simpson's sister was a resident at the controversial facility. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A GROUP of “extremely ­concerned” relatives raised issues regarding the standard of care at Pentland Hill ­Nursing Home more than six years ago, it has emerged.

The Care Inspectorate has ruled the home, which is under police investigation following the deaths of four residents, will be closed unless there is a “significant” improvement in its standards.

However, it has been revealed that 19 relatives of residents sent a letter to Bupa Care Homes and the Care Commission outlining their fears in August 2007.

Issues raised included “alarming” staff turnover, a lack of qualified staff, poor staffing levels, the cleanliness of the unit and residents, torn bed linen, improper supervision of mealtimes, unsuitable and unappetising food, which was “not very nutritional”, and a general “demoralising” atmosphere.

The letter also pointed out that many of the issues had been raised before, causing ­relatives to now “lack confidence in the management team”.

The letter ends: “We strongly feel hard, searching questions should be asked by higher management concerning their ­ability to run the home.”

The letter, along with letters of acknowledgement from Bupa and the Care Commission, were passed to the Evening News by Ronald Simpson, 64, of Newhaven, whose sister Sheila, a sufferer of early onset dementia, was a resident in the home between July 2007 and May 2009.

Mr Simpson said: “My mother and I chose Pentland Hill because it appeared to offer a high standard, but it soon became clear there was a big difference between what they wanted visitors to see and how things were.”

The letter prompted Bupa to launch an internal enquiry, while an investigation by the Care Inspectorate made six requirements for improvement in the areas of management of meal times, communication between staff and ­residents, feedback from residents about food and wound care, and ­recommendations on the laundry and proper record keeping.

A Care Inspectorate spokesman said: “In the last five years, we have inspected this home 15 times, upheld 27 formal ­complaints, and made numerous requirements for change.”

A spokeswoman for Pentland Hill Care Home said the issues were addressed at the time, adding: “We have invested significantly in dealing with any issues that occurred. But unfortunately, not all of these changes have been sustained. We have introduced a new leadership team, new staff roles and training.”

She added: “The Care Inspectorate, and residents and their families have all noted improvements at the home.”