A NURSING home that was investigated by police after concerns over four deaths is to close.

Private healthcare operator Bupa has told residents it is closing the scandal-hit Pentland Hill Nursing Home voluntarily in Edinburgh.

Watchdog the Care Inspectorate responded to a series of complaints over quality of care in the nursing home that has been criticised for its "horrendous" standards and is still investigating the home.

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Since the Care Inspectorate found serious concerns at an unannounced inspection last year, inspectors have required speedy and significant changes, and have worked closely with the NHS and the City of Edinburgh Council to help BUPA improve. Care inspectors noted some positive changes in recent months but an Improvement Notice and block on admissions remain in force.

Speaking about the closure, Dr Robert Peat, Director of Inspection, said: "Every person is entitled to safe, high-quality care. Our inspection team identified serious concerns last year, and we recently reported on some limited improvements at the start of the year, but the pace of change has been frustratingly slow. We remain concerned that even where improvements have been made, they may not be sustained.

"We served BUPA with an Improvement Notice in January. This required them to give prescribed medicines to residents, provide sufficient food and fluids, train and monitor staff properly, and follow care plans correctly.

"We are currently mid-inspection, checking to see whether the necessary improvements have been made in time and met with BUPA on 23 May to share our initial findings and continued concerns around medicines and care plans.

"Now that BUPA intends to voluntarily close the home, we are working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council to find new homes for the current residents. The first priority is the safety and well-being of elderly residents, and we expect all parties to work closely together to minimise the disruption at this difficult time. Anyone with concerns can contact our helpline on 0845 6009527."

A spokesman for Bupa said: "We are keen to stress that everyone connected with the home has recognised the significant improvements made to meet the Care Inspectorate requirements and that this decision is being made because of the difficulty in recruiting experienced and qualified nurses to allow us to continue the process of improvement.

"Again, we want to stress that there will be a phased closure and that Bupa are working in partnership with other bodies in a responsible manner - in short, it will take as long as it needs to take to ensure everyone is found a new home.

"All staff and relatives were notified today - with everyone reportedly understanding the position."

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: "Following a joint investigation by Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive into the circumstances of the deaths of three women and one man, aged 94, 67, 93 and 75 in Edinburgh on July 4, 15 and 17 and September 5 2013 respectively, a report has now been submitted to Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and is currently under the consideration of the Health and Safety Division."