Are standards being upheld across Capital?

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THE sad death of elderly John Gibson will come as a terrible blow to his family and friends.

The loss of a loved one is painful in any circumstances, but the events of recent days will make it all the harder for them to bear.

There are still so many unanswered questions surrounding the discovery of Mr Gibson apparently “bleeding to death” in “squalid” conditions in his Edinburgh home.

The investigation which has been launched by the city council will have to ask whether, or not, more could have been done at an earlier stage to save him.

Were all the guidelines followed by the care agency which was hired by the city council to care for Mr Gibson and his sister Thomasina?

And were the regular visits from its staff, which neighbours described as “brief”, long enough to ensure the siblings were receiving proper care?

We won’t know the facts behind the tragedy until the council concludes its investigation and must reserve any conclusions until then.

It is also beyond doubt that much excellent care is being provided to older people in their homes in the Capital. But confidence in the system has taken a severe dent, not just from the events of the last few days, but from evidence that has subsequently emerged of wider concerns about standards of care at home.

Today’s revelation that 18 complaints have been upheld in the last six months alone against the agency which was attending to Mr Gibson will only add to that unease.

Age Scotland describes that level of complaints as “an alarm bell” – and the city council must react.

It is no longer enough to investigate just the care received by the Gibsons, the local authority must also look more generally at the support being offered to older people in their homes across the city.

That is the only way to reassure the people of Edinburgh that standards are being upheld across the board.

History lesson

IT is a gruesome reminder of one of the bloodiest days in Lothian history.

The skull of a government officer who was wounded but incredibly survived the Battle of Prestonpans has been returned to the battle site more than 250 years on.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is artefacts like these which really bring history alive and promote the attractions on our doorstep. And while the late Captain James Clarke might not agree, it will also create renewed interest and aid the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust in their ongoing bid for a visitor centre. Good luck to them.