South Scotland

Craw Wood care unit staff suspended

Elderly man's hands
Image caption The specialist unit in the Scottish Borders provides care for dementia sufferers

A total of five workers have been suspended at a specialist unit for dementia sufferers after allegations of physical and verbal abuse.

Social work staff from Scottish Borders Council have now been deployed at the Craw Wood care facility in Tweedbank.

Two staff were suspended after an alleged incident involving a 72-year-old resident on Christmas Eve.

Now another three employees have been suspended after other claims came to light at the facility.

The first suspensions affected a female members of staff after an allegation of physical and verbal abuse of a resident.

A colleague who reported the incident to the pensioner's family was also suspended by Eildon Housing Association - which runs the home - for not following their established whistleblowing protocol.

Now another three employees have been suspended.

A police spokesman initially said they were dealing with a complaint about an individual and not the Craw Wood home itself.

However, in light of the latest suspensions they issued a further statement saying: "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."

SBC's head of social care and health, Elaine Torrance, 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."

Eildon's chief executive Neil Istephan confirmed five staff had been suspended and said it was working closely with SBC, NHS Borders and the Care Inspectorate as well as liaising with Lothian and Borders Police.

"The care and welfare of the 25 residents is of paramount importance," he said.

"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".

A special phone number for relatives with concerns or seeking information has been set up on 01896 755365.

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