Indian-origin couple banned from running nursing homes in Australia

July 18th, 2008 - 12:53 pm ICT by IANS  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, July 18 (IANS) Indian-origin doctors Jagdish and Madhu Saraf have been banned from operating a nursing home in Adelaide for approving the cremation of a 71-year-old woman before a coroner’s inquest into her death. Australian Minister for Ageing Justine Elliott Friday banned the husband and wife doctors, trading as Bresant Pty Ltd, from operating aged care homes.

The minister said the company’s history of significant and repeated non-compliance with their obligations, resulting in serious risk to the health, safety or well being of residents, was the basis for this decision.

South Australia’s coroner Mark Johns said the death of Gladys Ruth Wells, found dead in her bed in July 2007 at Bresant Pty Ltd operated Brighton Aged Care Nursing Home, should have been reported to him before her body was cremated, reports the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

The Sarafs had signed the elderly woman’s death and cremation certificates and the cause of death was given as cardiac arrest, but the coroner said he was concerned over evidence that the elderly woman’s body had been found in an unusual position, reports AAP.

“This has been a very sad episode and once again, I extend my condolences and sympathies to the family. The thousands of hard working and dedicated staff in aged care will welcome the decision by the Department of Health and Ageing to revoke Bresant’s approved provider status,” the minister for ageing said in a statement.

The Australian government has been concerned that doctors who effectively own and operate a nursing home can sign the death and cremation certificates of residents, despite an obvious conflict of interest. It is seeking the cooperation of states to plug the loophole on cremation and death certificates.

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