A CHARITY has called for urgent action to protect vulnerable residents after it emerged a company with three care homes in Scotland has gone into administration.

Bertinaley Care Limited owns and operates premises near Hamilton, Largs and Dundee – as well as one in Surrey – with 68 residents in total.

It has forced to shut Helenslea House near Dundee and those in its care are expected to be moved to alternative accommodation in the coming days, the administrators said.

Age Scotland said this comes days after a new report that showed over the last ten years, the number of places in Scottish care homes has decreased by 21%.

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Age Scotland said it was urging providers, agencies, local authorities and the Care Inspectorate to work together to prevent future closures and ensure a smooth transition for the Dundee care home residents affected.

Delia Henry, Age Scotland’s charity director, said: “Any care home closure will have a serious impact on the health of vulnerable residents and moving them could even put their lives at risk.

"Poorly planned moves are extremely stressful for older people and can be extremely detrimental to their physical and mental health. We hope that Bertinaley Care is working with local authorities and social workers to protect its residents and their families during this stressful transition.

“We’re very concerned about the increasing financial and workforce problems facing the sector. This announcement is yet another warning bell highlighting this worsening issue. As Scotland’s population ages at an alarming rate, the pressure to deliver high quality services for older people is growing. If we continue to be plagued with the same issues and no solution – this will only worsen the quality of life and care for older people in Scotland.”

“We urge councils, the Scottish Government and providers to work together to mitigate similar issues moving forward. With a majority of care home places provided by the private sector, there is always a risk that they will be affected by financial difficulties or other emergencies.

“Creating an effective contingency planning process could ensure that early action is taken to prevent closure or ensure a smooth transition.”

The other Bertinaley care homes are Auchinlea Residential Care Home in Largs and the Duchess Nina Nursing & Residential Home near Hamilton. Care home operator Careport has been appointed to manage the remaining premises during the administration process.

Tom MacLennan, Iain Fraser and Chris Stevens have been appointed as joint administrators.

In March, the Helenslea care home was criticised by the Care Inspectorate following an unannounced inspection and highlighted that one person had not received their medication for more than a week.”

Helenslea was graded as “weak” in all four inspection areas. There are currently five residents receiving care.

Inspectors gave a number of reasons for the low ratings, including staffing levels and medication issues.