An urgent meeting was held at Midlothian House on Tuesday after Newbyres Care Village received a damning report from the Care Inspectorate.
Opposition Labour councillors summoned social work chiefs to the meeting to discuss the critical report on the council’s flagship care facility in Gorebridge.
The inspectors who carried out an unannounced visit in September 2015 rated all areas measured at “weak” compared to “adequate” or “good” at the previous inspection.
Their report concluded: “The deficits we noted and improvements needed have resulted in a decrease in the grades awarded at this inspection in comparison with the grades awarded at the last inspection in March 2015.”
Midlothian Council said it has been working hard to address the issues raised by the September visit.
Reacting to the report, local councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab) said: “Having read the detail of the report and seeing some of the problems that the inspection identified, frankly I am surprised that the facility managed to even achieve a ‘weak’ rating, the second lowest grade awarded.
“There is something seriously wrong when a vital facility such as this, that is supposedly receiving so much attention from senior management and this council’s political administration, ends up with an across the board reduction in the quality of the service provided.”
The Care Inspectorate report states that just one of the five recommendations made at the last inspection of Newbyres in March 2015 had been implemented.
Labour spokesman for adult care, Councillor Bryan Pottinger, who also represents the Gorebridge Ward said: “We intend to get answers from officers on the content of this report and to demand an explanation for the failures detailed in it. The residents of Newbyres village are among our most vulnerable people and for them to receive anything but the best care is completely unacceptable.”
The meeting on Tuesday was called by the council’s performance review and scrutiny committee, which is chaired by the leader of the Labour opposition group, Councillor Derek Milligan.
He agreed to hold the meeting in private to ensure that the committee is able to be provided with information it has requested regarding complaints and issues raised about Newbyres. Some of which may be confidential.
The committee will also be asking for an explanation as to how a number of staff members reaching into double figures were found to be working at the facility without being properly registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “Since the inspection, we have been actively working to address the issues highlighted in the report and we have been working closely with NHS colleagues and the Care Inspectorate during this time.
“In addition, we are preparing for a further inspection before the end of the financial year.”