TWO elderly dementia patients died within five days of each other after being moved into the same Scottish care home against their families' will, it has been alleged.

One of the families is now pursuing legal action against the Scottish government.

In May Margaret Laidlaw, originally from Dalkeith who had Vascular Dementia, was one of hundreds of patients discharged into homes in Scotland to free up hospital beds for coronavirus patients.

The Scottish Government had confirmed 1,431 untested patients were moved to care homes between March 1 and April 21 alone before testing of new care home admissions became mandatory.

Ms Laidlaw was in the Drummond Grange nursing home in Lasswade, Midlothian for just three weeks before she died there on May 22nd at the age of 65.

Her family said she was moved there from Highbank Care Home Dalkeith - an intermediate facility where she had lived for nine months - at the end of April, despite them raising fears about the move and stressing she was healthy where she was.

The family pleaded for her move to be delayed for up to six weeks but say they were told by the council's social work department she had to leave because of "bed blocking" and that her space at Drummond might become unavailable.

Midlothian Council confirmed in June they were investigating a complaint from the family and a report had been sent to the Crown Office as part of a nationwide review into coronavirus related deaths in Scotland's care homes.

Five days after Ms Laidlaw's death Rodger Laing died in the same Midlothian home, with a similar story.

The 80-year-old former gamekeeper had dementia and had been in Midlothian Community Hospital for about seven months.

He was moved from hospital into the Drummond Grange and twenty-two days later he was dead. He had caught Covid-19.

His family including  song Rodney Laing also claim he was transferred there from hospital against their will because social workers said he was "bed blocking" - despite their father being "perfectly healthy and happy" where he was.


Rodney Laing.  Source: BBC

Mr Laing’s family are now bringing a legal case against the Scottish Government because they claim Government ministers were responsible for influencing the bed-clearance policy which led to his discharge.

The family took out Power of Attorney Order for Mr Laing in 2017 which gave them the legal right to decide what treatment he got and where he was cared for.

A report concerning Mr Laing's death has been sent to the Crown Office as part of the nationwide review.

A damning Care Inspectorate report later emerged which found "significant concerns" with the use and supply of PPE and infection prevention and control practice - including waste and laundry management - at Drummond Grange following an inspection on May 28.

The Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership says the family had accepted the place at Drummond Grange.

“Decisions affecting a patient cannot be made without the permission of the patient themselves or in cases where that is not possible, their power of attorney," said partnership director Morag Barrow.

A spokesperson for care home provider Barchester Healthcare, which runs Drummond Grange, has said they "do not accept" the Care Inspectorate findings and have raised "concerns" about the care regulator's operation during the pandemic and are seeking an investigation.

Barchester Healthcare have said they would fight the "heavy-handed intervention" they claim they experienced saying it and "many families, care providers and politicians" had express concerns over the operation of the Care Inspectorate.

The Care Inspectorate said it did not recognised the portrayal of its work as outlined by the care provider.