Workers at care home facing closure charged

The care home is closed to new admissions following criticism from inspectors. Picture: Scott Taylor
The care home is closed to new admissions following criticism from inspectors. Picture: Scott Taylor
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TWO staff members at a nursing home threatened with closure due to concerns over care standards have been charged following a police investigation.

The women, aged 31 and 44, employees at the privately-run Livingston Care Home, are facing charges under the Mental Health Care and Treatment (Scotland) Act 2004. If convicted they could face up to two years in jail, with the charges brought under a section of the Act that makes it an offence to “ill-treat or wilfully neglect a patient to whom they are providing care or treatment”.

It is understood that two other staff members had also been the subject of a police probe, although they are now being treated as witnesses and further action is not expected to be taken in their cases. The home, operated by Four Seasons Healthcare, is closed to new admissions and was classed as “unsatisfactory” in all four categories examined by the Care Inspectorate in an inspection in September.

A deadline to make improvements on a series of issues including medication, record keeping, care of residents and even the smell of the home was recently extended to the end of this month after the watchdog, which is itself investigating two complaints about the home, noted improvements during a return visit before Christmas.

It has been alleged that hygiene concerns highlighted by inspectors include a tablecloth being found with faeces on it. Uncovered and undated food and bags of rubbish left on the floors were also 
discovered.

West Lothian Council is monitoring the situation but has so far stopped short of initiating a large scale inquiry into the 58-bed home, where 42 elderly residents currently live.

A Care Inspectorate spokesman said: “We identified serious problems with this home in the summer and reported some matters to the police. Our September inspection found the home’s quality of care, staffing, environment and leadership to be unsatisfactory, the lowest grade we can award.

“We have ordered Four Seasons to make urgent improvements and served them with a formal improvement notice. We revisited the home before Christmas to check on progress and found evidence of improvements and changes being made. We require further improvements and have extended the deadline.”

A spokesman for Four Seasons Healthcare said: “We are actively co-operating with the Care Inspectorate and the police in an investigation into an allegation concerning the conduct of members of staff in the home.

“In line with our normal precautionary policy, these members of staff have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation and nothing further should be construed by this. The wellbeing of our residents is our priority. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

daniel.sanderson@edinburghnews.com