Residents and staff at an Aberdeen care home are today in limbo after operators announced they are to pull out within four weeks.
Banks O’ Dee in Tullos, which has 49 residents and 53 permanent staff, may now face closure if new operators cannot be found.
Only last month, the care home was threatened with enforced closure after serious concerns were raised about its quality of care.
It was ordered to make urgent improvements after its levels of care, environment, staffing and management all rated “sub-par” in Care Inspectorate reports.
The watchdog served a formal improvement notice on the home at the end of last month and gave bosses until March 11 to make the changes or risk being shut down.
In response, Four Seasons Health Care has now confirmed that, following discussions with the Care Inspectorate and Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP), it will cease to operate the home in four weeks’ time.
The ACHSCP now has until then to find a new provider or new arrangements will need to be made for the elderly residents and staff.
Amanda Cunningham, Four Seasons Health Care’s chief operating officer, said: “If no alternative operator is found, then, regrettably, we would begin consultation with colleagues about closure and continue to provide care and allow plenty of time while we work with ACHSCP to support residents and their families to transfer to appropriate care provision.
“Our proposal to cease operating Banks O’ Dee has been reached reluctantly.
“It is because we have been concerned for some time the home has not been meeting the standards we expect our homes to provide and the Care Inspectorate requires.
“The operational challenges have been exacerbated by difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff with the right skills in the tight local jobs market.
“This has necessitated high use of temporary agency staff who, although they are appropriately qualified, are not familiar with our policies and procedures and do not know the residents as well as our permanent staff.
“We take very seriously our responsibilities as a care provider and we think ceasing to operate the home is the right thing to do rather than see it continue to struggle.”
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Sandra Ross, chief officer for the ACHSCP, said: “We have received notification from Four Seasons Health Care, the private provider of care at the Banks O’ Dee Care Home, of their intention to withdraw service following a contractual notice period.
“There are currently 49 residents. Our priority is the care and wellbeing of residents and we will continue to liaise closely with individuals and families impacted by the decision of Four Seasons.
“Together with partners, we will ensure support and advice is provided.
“We are in discussions with Four Seasons and continuity of care in the short term is the immediate focus.
“Long-term solutions are also being considered with the support of partner organisations including Bon Accord Care, NHS Grampian and the independent care sector.”