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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 14:14 GMT
Care home head denies misconduct
Dr Chai Patel
Dr Chai Patel denies professional misconduct
The head of the famous Priory rehab clinics ran a care home which allegedly mistreated elderly patients, the General Medical Council has heard.

Dr Chai Patel, 50, faces being struck off if found guilty of serious professional misconduct.

He is accused of failing to safeguard the health and welfare of residents at Lynde House, Twickenham, while chief executive of Westminster Healthcare.

Dr Patel, of Oxshott, Surrey, denies serious professional misconduct.

It was also alleged at the hearing on Monday that Dr Patel failed to "provide and maintain" an environment at the house where the residents received "proper standards of care".

'Unexplained bruising'

He is accused of failing to investigate a letter claiming the residents were often left drenched in their own urine and that catering and general standards of care were poor.

The GMC heard that an independent report into alleged failings at the home published in 2001 found it was under-staffed and under-resourced.

Another investigation, commissioned by the Kingston and Richmond Health Authority published in 2002, found high levels of falls among residents and unexplained bruising.

Other concerns highlighted in the report included poor personal grooming and call bells being out of reach.

Dispute over care

The report said concerns and complaints were raised repeatedly with Westminster Healthcare by family and friends from 1998, but "insufficient action" had been taken.

Mary O'Rourke, counsel for Dr Patel, said the two reports should not be admissable as evidence.

She said Dr Patel disputed that Westminster Healthcare and therefore he, as chief executive, was responsible for the provision of health care of residents.

Dr Patel, a high-profile donor to the Labour Party, took over as chief executive of the Priory Group in April 2002 after leaving Westminster Health Care.


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