Cloud hangs over care home as staff conduct probe continues
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.’