Midlothian Council leader in the dark over report

Jim Muirhead outside Newbyres Care Village, Gorebridge
Jim Muirhead outside Newbyres Care Village, Gorebridge

The leader of Midlothian Council has admitted that she did not know about a damning care home report until two months after it was published.

Councillor Catherine Johnstone (SNP), who is also cabinet member for health and social care, was quizzed about the Newbyres Care Village report by Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab) at the latest full council meeting.

The report, carried out during an unannounced visit in September, marked all areas “weak” compared to “adequate” or “good” at the previous inspection.

Councillor Muirhead asked the council leader whether or not she only found out about it at the same time as Labour councillors, in January, two months after the report was published in November.

He also questioned why she did not attend the special meeting to discuss the report last month.

Councillor Johnstone defended her response to the report: “I was on pressing business for the council. However, yes, I did not receive this report until then.

“I have been working hard on this. The fact that I haven’t been shouting about this is a good thing. I’m safe in the knowledge that I’m doing everything I should be doing.”

Councillor Muirhead responded: “Just to be clear, though, were you aware there was a bad report, but you didn’t ask to see it?

“That was three/four months after the inspection, and two months after the report. Nobody even offered you a copy of the report?”

The council leader reiterated that she only saw the

report on the Gorebridge facility last month.