Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, has responded to the concluding remarks of the Gwent Assistant Coroner at the end of the 8 week long inquest into the death of six residents at Brithdir Care Home in the Caerphilly Borough.
Wayne David said “The evidence presented by so many witnesses to the inquest has been truly shocking. The standard of care provided at Brithdir Care Home was appalling and a number of residents suffered terribly. In fact, as was stated in the inquest, the treatment of residents amounted to “institutional abuse”. The treatment of the six residents who were the subject of the inquest was completely unacceptable and some practices at the Care Home were, as the Assistant Coroner remarked, “dehumanising”.
“What happened at Brithdir was the result of the actions, inactions and failings of a number of individuals and agencies. But it is clear that by far the greatest measure of responsibility must rest with the late Dr Das, the owner of the care home. Along with the Chief Executive of the company which owned the care home, Dr Das was very well aware of the huge inadequacies and failings of the home and yet did nothing about them. Indeed, he wilfully obstructed efforts made by the regulatory bodies to bring about improvements at Brithdir. Unfortunately, Dr Das was more concerned about his profits from the care home, than the well-being of the residents.
“I listened to many of the evidence sessions during the inquest and I was impressed by both the thoroughness and the sensitivity shown by Mr Geraint Williams, the Assistant Coroner. The families of the deceased have gone through a lot over the past 15 years or so, but I hope that the families will feel that the inquest into the deaths of their loved ones has at least brought a degree of ‘closure’.
“I am very pleased that, as the Assistant Coroner indicated, many of the lessons of Brithdir have been learnt. For example, the Welsh Government has introduced new legislation, the Care Standards Inspectorate Wales (now the CSSIW) has stronger powers, and local authorities now fulfil a far more proactive role in ensuring that standards are adhered to and that residents in all care homes are properly looked after”.
Wayne David has been actively concerned about elderly abuse for many years. Soon after concerns about standards in local care homes were brought to his attention by local constituents, Operation Jasmine was established by Gwent Police and the Home Office. After Operation Jasmine had concluded and a few cases were brought to court, Mr David and other Gwent Labour MPs, pressed for the Welsh Government to conduct its own independent review. This was the review by Dr Margaret Flynn.
Subsequently, Wayne David has liaised with the Welsh Government, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and Caerphilly County Borough Council about the introduction of measures that the Assistant Coroner himself identified.