Nursing home scandal must never be allowed to happen again – Older People’s Commissioner

The shameful care experienced by residents at the Brithdir nursing home must never be allowed to happen again, according to an independent voice for older people.

Helena Herklots (pictured), Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, said there had been many changes in the social care sector since the shocking events at the care home first came to light – to ensure there was never a repeat.

“I know that the pain and grief amongst families who lost loved ones following the shocking failures of care highlighted by this inquest are still very real, and I would like to pay tribute to the dignity with which they have made their voices heard and spoken up on behalf of their relatives,” she said.

“Their hard work and tenacity over many, many years has provided much needed, although often very painful, answers about the catalogue of failures, at both an individual and system level, which resulted in dehumanising and degrading treatment that ultimately contributed significantly to the deaths of their loved ones, vulnerable older people whose trust was betrayed in such an appalling way.

“Today’s findings underline why the changes we have seen across our social care system in the years since these failures occurred have been so important, and why learning and work to deliver improvements must continue to ensure that older people never again experience the kind of shameful care that the residents of Brithdir sadly endured.”

Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith said there was likely to be many more families who recognise the poor care loved ones suffered in homes owned by Dr Prana Das.

“I’m glad that this inquest has documented Dr Das’ disgraceful behaviour and the appalling treatment that led to the deaths of elderly residents in his care,” Mr Smith said.

“Unfortunately, there are likely to be more families, former residents and staff who recognise similar instances of poor care that occurred under Dr Das elsewhere.

“Residents and their families will take small comfort from the coroner’s findings, although I hope that some closure has been provided given that Dr Das was never held to account in the courts.

“Following Operation Jasmine, I successfully fought to secure a change in the law so that care home owners could be personally prosecuted for cases of neglect.

“I hope this has ensured older people are better protected against the kind of abhorrent treatment we have heard about during this inquest.”

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