MP calls for inquiry into care standards for elderly after collapse of £11m care Gwent homes probe

11:26am Thursday 7th March 2013

By Emma Mackintosh

A GWENT MP is calling for a public inquiry into care standards for the elderly in Welsh nursing homes following  the collapse of an £11 million investigation into a Gwent care homes scandal after the defendant was beaten so badly he cannot stand trial.

The Argus reported on Saturday how Dr Prana Das, who faces a string of charges relating to neglect and fraud at Gwent care homes, will not stand trial after a "savage beating" left him brain damaged.

His co-accused Paul Black will not stand trial either.

The men were investigated as part of 'Operation Jasmine', which was established on October 19, 2006, when Gladys Thomas, 86, a patient at Bryngwyn Mountleigh nursing home in Newbridge, was admitted to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital after being given incorrect doses of medication. She died on October 27.

The investigation looked at six care homes, collected almost 50,000 documents and arrested 52 people, with 20 being charged.

Now Wayne David MP for Caerphilly is calling for a public inquiry into care standards for the elderly in Welsh nursing homes.

He said: "Operation Jasmine was a major police inquiry. Enormous resources were committed to it and the examples of elder abuse in care homes which were examined were truly awful.

"It is therefore essential that lessons are learnt and that standards and procedures are improved in the light of this inquiry."

On Friday Mr David will meet Gwent Police officers to discuss Operation Jasmine and said the case against co-accused Black, of Ash Grove, Upton St Leonards, should go ahead.

"If he is fit enough and there are significant charges against him, then he should face those charges," said Mr David. "The relatives of those who were ‘allegedly’ abused deserve this."

Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith has already demanded a review into the case and has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer.

He told the Argus last week: "My main concern is that while Operation Jasmine may have established what happened in care homes in South Wales during the period under investigation, it may not deliver justice for the elderly victims of alleged abuse.

"I want to see the full force of the law marshalled on behalf of the victims."

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