THE owner of the Brithdir nursing home was only interested in making money, rather than caring for the elderly, a coroner has said.

Geraint Williams condemned Dr Prana Das for his “aggressive and threatening” attitude to the state agencies and his “deliberately duplicitous” actions.

Dr Das, a GP, owned more than 20 care homes in South Wales through several different companies, and had been well known to the authorities for poor standards of care and minimal staffing levels across his businesses.

After a lengthy police investigation, Dr Das was charged with health and safety and fraud offences, but before he could stand trial, he suffered severe head injuries during an aggravated burglary at his home. He died in 2020.

Mr Williams, the assistant Gwent coroner, criticised Dr Das, his chief executive Paul Black, and senior managers Peter Smith and Rachel Prichard.

“Dr Das was described in evidence by a number of witnesses including, significantly Paul Black and Rachel Prichard, as a manipulative, deceitful, dishonest bully,” he said.

“His attitude toward the state agencies and the regulatory requirements was clear from the outset of his involvement at Brithdir – at best it was cavalier and at worst deliberately duplicitous.

“He was known by the state agencies to be extremely litigious and was, I find, clearly determined to refuse to acknowledge any criticism or failure by him or his staff in the care given to his residents.

“I find, based upon the evidence that I heard, that he was aggressive and threatening to all who opposed him.”

Mr Williams said Dr Das had persistently failed to stick to statutory and regulatory requirements, especially around staffing levels.

“I am completely satisfied that his sole concern was making money from his business and that the needs of residents, their safety and their welfare played little if any part in his thinking,” he said.

“The expert evidence, whilst given in connection with individual residents, is that there was a culture at Brithdir of warehousing the residents, ensuring that they were fed and watered, although even that was often inadequate, giving them medication although not always appropriately and doing the bare minimum for them.

“The evidence in support of that expert opinion is simply overwhelming and stems, I find, from the focus of the management on maximising profit at the expense of providing care.

“I find that such focus, attitude and culture represents the most gross dereliction of duty that could be imagined and amounts to a deliberate abuse of the elderly and vulnerable residents at Brithdir.”

More on the conclusion of the inquest: