Damning report on Gorebridge care home not passed on

NEWBYRES VILLAGE

NEWBYRES VILLAGE

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Midlothian Council has admitted that its officers failed to pass on a damning report about Newbyres Care Home to councillors.

The report on the Gorebridge care home was published in November, marking all areas “weak”, following a surprise inspection in September.

However, council leader Catherine Johnstone (SNP), who is also cabinet member for health and social care, did not know about the report until January.

A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “Regular briefings are held separately with the administration and opposition members for health and social care. These include updates on inspections and related issues, and did, during the period from September 2015 to January 2016, include discussion of the Newbyres report.

“However, it is accepted that officers failed to provide a copy of the final, published inspection report.

“That was an error and an apology has been given.”

Labour councillor Jim Muirhead, who had questioned Councillor Johnstone on the matter at a recent council meeting, believes that the report should have been brought to councillors’ attention sooner than it was.

He said: “I think it’s in the public interest to know the kind of issues they are having. The fact is that it’s a public document and it should have been brought to councillors’ attentions.

“A lot of this has not been handled right in terms of officers and councillors.”

Councillor Catherine Johnstone defended her position in the matter. She said: “Since becoming aware of the situation at Newbyres Cares Village I have been talking, discussing and taking the appropriate action with officers and staff to ensure the care of residents, staff and visiting professionals is appropriate.

“I believe broadcasting this information in public will not provide the residents, their families, staff or the visiting professionals any benefit and by doing so may undermine the good work being done.

“Regarding any disciplinary action that may be taking place is entirely confidential between that member of staff and the council. It is regrettable that the Labour Group has failed to take cognisance of this whole situation.”

The care home report stated that feedback on the outcomes of the inspection was shared with the care team manager and with Midlothian Council. Formal feedback was also shared with representatives of Midlothian Council on September 29, 2015.

When we reported on this last month, reader Alex Hogg took to our website. He said: “Good grief. Frankly astonishing that the council leader - and the person responsible for health and social care in Midlothian - was kept in the dark about such an appalling report on a local care home. Why the cover-up? Has anyone been disciplined? Can we expect all future care inspectorate reports to be similarly ignored?”