Scandal-hit care home to reopen

Pentland Hill care home  is set to re-open as a 'step-down' facility. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Pentland Hill care home is set to re-open as a 'step-down' facility. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A SCANDAL-hit care home is set to re-open as a “step-down” facility in a bid to ease the 
bed-blocking crisis in the city.

Pentland Hill, which shut in summer, forcing 61 residents to find new homes, will house elderly patients ready to leave hospital but with no care plans in place.

Council chiefs and NHS Lothian are expected to sign an 18-month lease from private healthcare provider Bupa for the 120-bed unit in a bid to ease the drastic shortage of care home places in the Capital.

But former carer Christina Taylor, who previously spoke out about the standards at the much-maligned home, said she had been left “baffled” to learn that Bupa was agreeing to lease it now.

The 60-year-old, who started working at the Corstorphine home when her mother, Agnes Nisbet, became a resident, said it was too late for the vulnerable residents who were “shipped out” over summer.

“I’m really quite angry. Why didn’t it happen before to save the residents and their relatives the aggravation of moving?” she said.

“They were put into taxis with their belongings in black bin bags and basically shipped out to their new places. What a way to treat someone at the end of their time, it’s shocking.

“I don’t know what’s gone on behind the scenes but to me it’s just another example of Bupa putting profits before the care of people.”

The home was subject to a police investigation following the deaths of four residents and was threatened with closure by the care watchdog unless urgent improvements were made. The Care Inspectorate carried out a series of checks with an unannounced inspection this time last year finding bed sheets that were thin and stained, several mattresses were dirty and seat cushions were missing from some armchairs, with a third of residents at risk of under-nutrition.

The decision was made to close the home in June amid “staffing shortages”, adding to the hundreds of care home beds in the city lying empty because they fall short of industry standards.

One woman, whose 82-year-old mother was the last to leave the home, said the “stress proved too much for her” and she died weeks later.

A Bupa spokesman confirmed it was in discussions with the local authority and NHS about a short-term let of the site.

He said: “While we have not made a decision about the site’s longer-term future, we are discussing an agreement to lease some of the buildings to create a short-stay centre.

“This would be a new service to ease pressures on local hospitals and is different to the aged care home that we operated. We have always been open to discussions with local partners.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com