Five suspended as police step up care home abuse probe

The Craw Wood Nursing Home in Tweedbank.
The Craw Wood Nursing Home in Tweedbank.

FIVE staff have now been suspended at a specialist home for dementia sufferers in Tweedbank following allegations that some residents were subjected to physical and verbal abuse.

Scottish Borders Council social work staff have this week been deployed to £563-a-week Craw Wood, run by the Eildon Housing Association, and assurances issued to families that their relatives will be “safe, well cared for and treated with respect”.

The police have confirmed they have now stepped up their probe at the 25-unit facility.

Last week, after we reported an alleged incident on Christmas Eve involving a 72-year-old woman resulting in two staff suspensions, the police stated that a complaint had been received, but insisted enquiries related to an individual and not the home itself.

But on Tuesday, a spokesman stated: “Lothian and Borders Police are conducting an investigation into the provision of care services at a facility in Tweedbank. Enquiries are at an early stage.”

Yesterday, Elaine Winwood, the daughter of the 72-year-old, said she had been told by police that they were interviewing staff in relation to her mother’s case and other alleged incidents at the home.

“It appears the story in The Southern has opened up a whole can of worms,” she told us. “I understand another worker has been suspended after an old man was pushed to the floor and left lying while, in another incident, a bed-bound female was apparently discovered bleeding from the nose.”

These allegations were put to Eildon and SBC, which contracts the association to deliver the service.

Elaine Torrance, SBC’s head, of social care and health, said: “The council takes all concerns raised seriously and is doing all it can to ensure residents are safeguarded and will robustly investigate all reports of mistreatment.

“The social work department has been working closely with Eildon and other partners and additional measures have been put in place to ensure all residents in Craw Wood are safe, well cared for and treated with respect.

“To this end, staffing levels have been increased and the council is providing additional staffing and management support to assist and support the service. Reviews of all residents by social work staff are also being undertaken which will fully involve relatives.

“We realise this is a difficult time for families and the council will continue to closely monitor the situation. Relatives can discuss any specific issues relating to their family member by ringing 01896 755365.”

Eildon’s chief executive Neil Istephan said: “We are working closely with SBC, NHS Borders and the Care Inspectorate following reports of recent incidents at Craw Wood.

“As a result, five members of staff have been suspended whilst investigations are concluded. We are also liaising with Lothian and Borders Police as part of these investigations.

“The care and welfare of the 25 residents is of paramount importance. Whilst investigations are on-going, SBC and NHS Borders are working closely with us to ensure a full complement of trained staff is available to support residents.”

Mr Istephan added that Eildon would “address in full” a report issued this week by the Care Inspectorate which, following unannounced visits in November, concluded the quality of care and support and the quality of staffing at Craw Wood was “weak”.