Cloud hangs over care home as staff con­duct probe con­tin­ues

The Oban Times - - The Oban Times & West Highland Times - EMMA CRICH­TON ecrich­ton@oban­

MORE than a year af­ter the clo­sure of Mal­laig’s Mack­in­tosh Cen­tre, en­quiries into staff con­duct are still on­go­ing.

The care home re- opened in Au­gust, af­ter 13 months of clo­sure amid al­le­ga­tions of poor prac­tise, but is still be­ing run un­der in­terim man­agers as in­ves­ti­ga­tions of staff con­tinue.

NHS High­land an­nounced on Mon­day that the cen­tre’s tem­po­rary man­ager Jackie Hodges will soon re­turn to her per­ma­nent role as ser­vice im­prove­ment lead for so­cial care, hand­ing over the reigns to a new in­terim man­ager Nancy Camp­bell. She will take on the role as a six-month sec­ond­ment from her cur­rent job as a Lochaber public health nurse.

A spokesman for the health ser­vice said it was ‘more suit­able’ to ap­point another in­terim than a per­ma­nent man­ager for the Mack as en­quiries into man­age­ment con­tinue.

He added: ‘These in­ves­ti­ga­tions are nec­es­sar­ily ex­tremely thor­ough, given that they can in­volve wit­nesses and a very de­tailed ex­am­i­na­tion of the facts, and are there­fore time- con­sum­ing.’

This comes af­ter res­i­dents had to be housed 45 miles away in Fort Wil­liam’s In­vernevis House while an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­der­way and new care staff were re­cruited.

But a fam­ily friend of Mack­in­tosh res­i­dents, who fought to have the five pen­sion­ers re­turned to their home for the last year but asked not to be named, said there is ‘still a cloud’ over the care home as a re­sult of these on­go­ing is­sues.

He said: ‘I can un­der­stand why they can’t per­ma­nently re­place staff while en­quiries are on­go­ing be­cause that would break em­ploy­ment law. What I don’t un­der­stand is why the en­quiries still aren’t fin­ished af­ter all this time. It’s shock­ing that this still isn’t fin­ished. A dis­ci­plinary shouldn’t take this long, they can be dealt with in a mat­ter of days.

‘ While it’s re­ally good that the home is fi­nally open again and ev­ery­one seems re­ally happy with it, there’s still a cloud hang­ing over the Mack and it will stay un­til this is­sue is re­solved.’

But Ms Hodges, who has been the in­terim man­ager since mid-July, said the care home con­tin­ues to im­prove: ‘It re­ally does feel like the Mack­in­tosh Cen­tre is start­ing afresh. We im­proved the level of staffing, train­ing and fu­ture plan­ning be­fore the home re- opened and our staff have been work­ing above and be­yond the call of duty. We are also work­ing hard at de­vel­op­ing the ‘ My Home Life’ ini­tia­tive, which im­proves the way peo­ple are sup­ported in a care home set­ting. My Home Life is an ev­i­dence-based ap­proach to sup­port­ing and en­abling care home man­agers to cre­ate homely en­vi­ron­ments in care homes.’

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