A councillor who lost his father during a coronavirus outbreak at Home Farm on Skye has spoken of his ongoing search for “closure”.
John Gordon described a “tidal wave of issues” faced by families like his own across Scotland, many of which “seem to be left unresolved”.
The Skye councillor’s 83-year-old father, John Angus Gordon, was one of 10 residents at the Home Farm facility to die during the pandemic.
The controversy, which rocked the island community, has been one of the most high-profile of all the care home outbreaks in Scotland since the start of the crisis.
The Care Inspectorate raised a legal action to cancel the then operator HC-One’s registration following an inspection last May which raised serious concerns about the running of the home.
The action was later dropped and NHS Highland, which was brought in to help manage the home, formally took over its running in November.
Mr Gordon said: “I still believe the staff that were there were caring and doing the best that they can but were part of a system that failed them and failed us as families but most importantly failed the residents.”
‘There’s been no closure’
The independent councillor added: “I’ve heard a number of family members say this and I say it myself now, yet I couldn’t understand it when I heard other people say it, but I just feel there’s been no closure in terms of what has happened.
“There was a number of weeks before our dad died when you couldn’t see him, so again you were left with the information that was coming out, and for families that had residents within the care home throughout the whole of the pandemic, and just trying to get that timely information, has been really hard.
“It’s been a very difficult period – to deal with your own grief as well as realise there are so many issues within our care home in a little village and to know that there’s been so many complaints that haven’t been addressed or dealt with is quite shocking and somebody has to take responsibility for this.
“This is just one care home but there are so many that I know from e-mails and letters that I get from family members of residents in care homes across the whole of Scotland that there’s a tidal wave of issues that seem to be left unresolved or not being addressed and it just cannot go on, this has to be dealt with.”
We have revealed today that the vast majority of complaints to the Care Inspectorate about care homes for older people were not investigated by the regulator last year.
‘A lot to answer for’
While the Care Inspectorate did take action in the case of Home Farm, Mr Gordon was adamant that more should have been done to help families like his own.
He said: “Our elderly population deserve the best care possible and if there are complaints they should be addressed and dealt with in a timely and professional manner.
“When I hear so many complaints weren’t dealt with, just particularly during the whole pandemic, and our experience of care, the care home, and the lack of transparency and timely information, the Scottish Government has a lot to answer to in terms of what happened during the pandemic.”
He added: “I think that a lot of the problems that care homes are facing and what we have experienced during the pandemic in terms of some of the reports that have come out and the complaints that we’re now hearing about, ultimately is at the door of the Care Inspectorate.
“It’s part of the Scottish Government and they did not step up to the mark, so questions have to be asked of the Care Inspectorate because I do not think they did what they should have been doing, particularly during the pandemic, and a lot of the complaints that have come out since I feel there has to be an investigation into the Care Inspectorate’s dealings.”