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Scottish Government to cover one year’s running costs for beleaguered Skye care home

Home Farm Nursing Home in Portree, Skye.
Home Farm Nursing Home in Portree, Skye.

The Scottish Government is to fund the running costs of Home Farm care home in Skye for one year, it was announced at Highland Council yesterday.

The home was at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak which took the lives of 10 residents in April, and was the subject of a damning Care Inspectorate report.

Skye councillors were concerned that although the Scottish Government has bought over the care home from HC-One and transferred ownership to NHS Highland, the council will  have to pick up the estimated £1.2m annual running costs.

They raised a motion at yesterday’s meeting asking the council write to the Scottish Government for assurance that it would meet Home Farm’s running costs.

The four councillors, John Finlayson, John Gordon, Calum MacLeod and Calum Munro gave impassioned accounts of the trauma felt by and still lingering with the community over the distressing episode.

Mr Munro called it “one of the most upsetting, anguished and hurtful periods in Skye and Raasay’s recent history certainly since the second World war or perhaps even the First World War.

“The sense of communal anxiety and grief was palpable.”

Council leader Margaret Davidson said she received a letter from health secretary Jeane Freeman the previous evening saying the Scottish Government will fund the home’s revenue costs for the next year.

She said: “I will write back and say thank you, but the letter also says we need to go back into discussion with NHS Highland over the next year’s budget, but that’s not good enough, we must challenge that and get better reassurances into the future.”

She went on:  “The NHS has made a massive difference in Home Farm.

“They seriously improved infection control, but it was too late for 10 people.

“The staff were heroic, going in there every day, not knowing what infections they could pick up, what they could take back to their own families day after day.

“We’re going to go back and work with the government for a satisfactory longer term solution.”

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