October 10, 2019 11:56:06
The owner of a troubled aged care centre, which suddenly closed three months ago amid a pay dispute, says he has lost his licence to operate a high-care facility, and the centre will not reopen.
- The aged care centre closed unexpectedly in July amid a pay dispute
- Just weeks earlier a report stated that more than half of the residents were being restrained
- The facility’s licence has now been revoked by the Federal Government
The abrupt closure of Earle Haven nursing home in Nerang in July left 68 elderly residents homeless, after they were forced to move to other residential facilities and hospitals.
It happened because of a pay dispute between the nursing home owner, People Care, and its operator HelpStreet.
People Care director Arthur Miller said the Federal Government had revoked his accreditation.
“They have revoked our licence, we cannot even sell our licence to somebody else, we cannot operate the aged care [facility] anymore … so our business is completely gone,” he said.
The Gold Coast facility also formed part of the Royal Commission into Aged Care, which heard half of the residents at Earle Haven were being physically restrained in the weeks before it closed.
The commission was told 50 per cent were physically restrained and 71 per cent were being chemically restrained with psychotropic medication, according to an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) report from June.
Lorraine Cook — whose husband John was one of the relocated residents — said she now had to catch two buses and travel over an hour each way to see her husband at his new facility.
She said she was frustrated there had been so much focus on elderly Australians with the royal commission — still underway — but there had not been a noticeable change at the coal face.
“I mean give us a break. These poor people have been shoved from pillar to post and still nothing has been done,” she said.
“There’s not enough staff as usual. Instead of all this talk, talk, talk, let’s get a little bit of action going.”
Mr Miller said the closure had cost him almost a million dollars in lost subsidies and legal fees but the independent living component of the business would continue to operate.
“We are the cheapest retirement village in Australia,” he said.
“We provide a lot of services. We have a restaurant that provides more than 20,000 meals a month so we have other businesses outside of the high care.
“The high care is a small business, just 89 beds.”
Aged and Disability Advocate Australia chief executive Geoff Rowe said Earle Haven had been plagued by issues and concerns for years and he was not surprised its licence had been revoked.
“If anything I’m frustrated that it’s taken as long as it has for such dramatic action,” he said.
Mr Rowe said in the wake of the royal commission authorities were finally starting to listen to community concerns about aged care issues and were willing to come down harder on operators.
“It’s only in more recent times that the Government has listened to the community that the abuse and neglect of older people is unacceptable,” he said.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe