Police pass reports on Skye care home deaths to Crown

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image captionHome Farm was at the centre of a Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year

Police have passed information on deaths at a care home on Skye to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

The privately-owned Home Farm in Portree was at the centre of a Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year.

Police Scotland said it was investigating if there had been "any possible criminal neglect" at the home.

The owner, HC-One, said the police had reviewed three deaths and that it would cooperate fully.

The COPFS said its investigation was ongoing and families would be kept up-to-date about significant developments.

A total of 11 residents are believed to have died after contracting coronavirus at the care home, which is in the process of being purchased by NHS Highland with funding from the Scottish government.

The move follows concerns raised by the Care Inspectorate about the care of residents. The inspectorate made unannounced inspections of Home Farm earlier this year.

Police Scotland said a large scale multi-agency investigation into standards of care was ongoing and police continued to assess information provided to officers through that process.

A force spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that information gathered during our inquiries into the deaths at Home Farm, Skye, has been passed to COPFS for their consideration."

'Unprecedented pandemic'

A spokesperson for the care home said: "We know the Crown office, supported by Police Scotland, is leading a review into every Covid-19 death in a Scottish care home, as announced in May, and we will cooperate fully with this and any other investigations into Covid-19 related deaths.

"We fully understand the effect of this unprecedented pandemic on our residents, their relatives and our colleagues who have been caring for them, and we have the utmost sympathy for the upset and loss that has been felt by so many in recent months."

The COPFS had set up a Covid-19 Death Investigation Team to receive and deal with reports submitted by Police Scotland.

A spokesman said: "The procurator fiscal has received reports in connection with the deaths of 11 people at the Home Farm Care Home.

"The investigation into the deaths is ongoing and the families will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments."

Last week it emerged HC-One, the UK's largest care home operator, was facing potential legal action from families of Home Farm residents.

Glasgow law firm PBW Law, one of the firms representing families, has also written to Scotland's Lord Advocate seeking a fatal accident inquiry.

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