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Bid to shut down 'unacceptable' care home for elderly

Watchdogs said residents are not being fed properly at Muirhead care home.

Care: Serious concerns for residents.
Care: Serious concerns for residents. STV

Watchdogs are attempting to shut down a care home in Aberdeenshire, amid fears it is severely understaffed and residents are not being fed properly.

Muirhead care home near Alford, which looks after 35 elderly residents, failed an inspection by the Care Inspectorate.

Police and the local authority are also involved in the investigation into the home.

The care watchdog has now taken the drastic step of applying to the sheriff court to remove the care home's license, shutting it down.

A hearing into the matter is expected to take place next Friday.

A woman whose elderly uncle is a resident in the home told STV News he had lost weight and was unhappy 

A Care Inspectorate spokeswoman said: "Everyone is entitled to high quality care that reflects their needs and uphold their rights.

"Our most recent inspection found that the quality of care is unacceptable.

"We found people were not getting the care and support they need, with serious concerns about staff recruitment, including the number of staff, staff training, and experience.

"We also identified serious concerns about food in the care home, and the way people should be supported to have well-balanced and nutritious meals.

"We found numerous hazards and found that very serious incidents had not been followed up correctly."

'The quality of care is so poor that we have applied to the sheriff court for an emergency cancellation of this care home's registration.'
Care Inspectorate

She continued: "The quality of care is so poor that we have applied to the sheriff court for an emergency cancellation of this care home's registration.

"We do not take this action lightly or often, but only in exceptional circumstances where there is no alternative to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of residents."

The company running the care home say they are attempting to address the issues raised by the Care Inspectorate.

A statement from the home's owners said: "We were only made aware very recently that the quality of that care was being questioned.

"We have given an undertaking to the court that we will provide an action plan to address those issues of concern which we have been made aware of."

'My uncle hasn't been happy for a long time. He's lost a bit of weight.'
Pearl Crawford

Pearl Crawford told STV News she had complained directly to staff at the home a number of times.

Her 76-year-old uncle James is a resident and has been for the last three years.

She said: "Obviously I'm concerned.

"My uncle hasn't been happy for a long time. He's lost a bit of weight.

"He is a difficult patient I must admit but I didn't realise the situation was so bad."

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Police are working with partners including the Care Inspectorate and Aberdeenshire Council after concerns were raised regarding Muirhead Care Home in Alford, Aberdeenshire.

"Enquiries are at an early stage and are ongoing."

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