Coronavirus: Lothians care home owner urged to be more transparent

Scotland’s Health Secretary has said the care home at the centre of a new Covid outbreak is “engaging positively” with public health officials, despite the solicitors for victims’ families claiming more “transparency” was needed about the handling of coronavirus in residential homes.
The Redmill care home in West Lothian suffered a recent outbreakThe Redmill care home in West Lothian suffered a recent outbreak
The Redmill care home in West Lothian suffered a recent outbreak

The Redmill home in Whitburn has seen 14 people die after contracting Covid-19, with a further 35 residents and 20 staff members confirmed as positive cases.

It is run by HC One, the same firm that presided over 11 deaths at its Home Farm care home in Skye earlier this year before it was bought over by NHS Highland for £900,000 last month.

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There have been calls for an urgent Care Inspectorate investigation into the outbreak at its West Lothian premises.

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Care Inspectorate made its “own decisions” on when to investigate.

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Four more deaths at Covid-hit Redmill Care Home in West Lothian

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "The provider, HC One and the staff, are engaging very constructively and positively with NHS Lothian who, of course, through their director of public health are continuing to ensure the home has the level of resource it needs, has all the PPE it needs, has the clinical care wrapped around it to ensure that it can control the transmission of the virus there, and look after the residents of the home.”

Expressing her sympathies to the families who had lost loved ones, and concern for those of other residents “completely understandably anxious and worried”, she added: "I do look at the situation of all our care homes where there are outbreaks, regardless of whether its one case or more than one case, every single day and follow those up including in discussions with the Care Inspectorate, but it takes decisions on when it wants to intervene.”

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A total of ten deaths were recorded in May at the Home Farm Care Home.

Pamela Rodgers, associate at PBW Law, which is representing multiple families of its residents, described the outbreak at Redmill as “history repeating itself”.

She said: “It is deeply troubling that after the tragic deaths at the HC-One-operated care home on the Isle of Skye that we are once again seeing such a distressing situation in West Lothian at a home run by the same operator.

“The Care Inspectorate report published in May on HC-One's standards was damning and highlighted the lack of transparency exhibited by staff at Home Farm. Sadly, it appears history is repeating itself with this heart-breaking situation at Redmill Care Home.”

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NHS Lothian is leading an investigation into Redmill and another outbreak at Milford House Care Home in Edinburgh.

Neil Findlay, Scottish Labour MSP for Lothian, has repeatedly called for an urgent Care Inspectorate investigation at Redmill.

Ms Rodgers echoed the call, adding: “The severity of the outbreak raises grave concerns with the number of deaths now surpassing those at Home Farm, the latter having been the subject of forced intervention by NHS Highland.

“Care home companies should understand that at a time when families are being prevented from visiting loved ones, it is causing even more distress to encounter a basic lack of transparency over care standards.”

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HC-One insisted the firm had engaged “openly and regularly with relevant bodies including the Care Inspectorate, NHS and local authorities.

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