Midlothian care home faces closure amid claims that a third of its residents have died

Scotland’s care watchdog has launched legal action against a nursing home in Loanhead after 'significant concerns' were identified during an inspection.
Facing closure: Thornlea Nursing HomeFacing closure: Thornlea Nursing Home
Facing closure: Thornlea Nursing Home

The Care Inspectorate has submitted an application to cancel the registration of Thornlea Nursing Home due to ‘serious’ worries surrounding residents' safety following a recent visit by its investigators.

The residential has capacity for a maximum of 33 adults paying up to £1,000 per week and it has been claimed that up to 13 residents have passed away from Covid-19 in recent weeks.

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A number of public notices in recent weeks have cited the Midlothian nursing home as the place of death.

Officials at the privately-run facility refused to provide any comment on the legal move by the Care Inspectorate.

The last inspection report made public was for one carried out on November 9, 2017 where the home received a ‘weak’ marking for ‘care and support’ provision.

The watchdog has now filed court paperwork seeking the cancellation of the privately-run home's registration, which it said could allow new arrangements to be organised for residents.

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A Care Inspectorate spokesman said: "An inspection has identified serious and significant concerns about the quality of care experienced by residents at Thornlea Nursing Home in Loanhead, Midlothian.

"We understand this is a difficult and distressing time for residents, their loved ones and staff at the home.

"However, our first priority is always the health and wellbeing of residents.

"Because of our concerns about the safety of residents we have submitted an application to the sheriff court seeking cancellation of the care home's registration.

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"This could allow new care arrangements to be put in place for residents of the home.

"We are working closely with partners including Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and the Scottish Government to ensure that residents experience appropriate care during this difficult time."

Morag Barrow, Midlothian HSCP health and social care director, said it has taken "immediate action".

She said the partnership is working with the inspectorate and NHS Lothian, adding: "Our aim is to make sure standards of care are being met by this private provider and that all appropriate measures are being taken to support residents and families."

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The application, against operators Thornlea Nursing Home Ltd, is expected to be heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

This is the second time the inspectorate has launched court action to strip a home of its registration.

It took HC-One, operators of the Home Farm care home in Portree, Skye, to court after 10 residents died in a coronavirus outbreak, before dropping the case after improvements were made.

That home has since been bought by NHS Highland, financed by the Scottish government, which is under scrutiny after it emerged people who had tested positive for coronavirus were discharged from hospitals into care homes.

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Prosecutors at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service have instructed Police Scotland to compile a dossier of evidence relating to each Covid-19 care home death. It is anticipated there will be a public inquiry into the numbers who died and the circumstances of their deaths.

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