'I'm not a nurse', Earle Haven boss says

Gold Coast aged care facility owner Arthur Miller says he's fed up and getting out of aged care.
Gold Coast aged care facility owner Arthur Miller says he's fed up and getting out of aged care.

Two years after Arthur Miller's sick wife retired from working at a Gold Coast nursing home, it received its first non-compliance sanction.

The highly-qualified nurse had been his partner in successfully-run nursing homes dating back to the 1980s, a Queensland parliamentary inquiry was told on Friday.

Mr Miller is the director of PeopleCare which runs the Earle Haven retirement home on the Gold Coast, where high-care facilities shut down unexpectedly on July 11.

The hearing is looking into the closure which attracted national headlines when about 70 elderly high care patients were left effectively without a home.

Mr Miller, aged in his late 70s, told the inquiry his wife was a director at the aged-care facility from 2001.

Together they had run homes in NSW since 1985 without sanctions.

But in 2005 she became very sick and then retired. She died in 2012.

Mr Miller remained the sole director of PeopleCare, the approved provider of care for the now closed Orchid House and Hibiscus House facilities within the Earle Haven retirement village.

The high-care home received its first federal sanction in 2007.

"I'm not a nurse myself," Mr Miller told the hearing on Friday before reports on the facility's failures in 2007, 2015, 2016 and 2017 were read out.

There were concerns from the federal regulator about drinks being placed out of reach of thirsty patients.

The regulator said staff did not properly manage continence or have adequate behaviour management skills.

It wasn't until April 2018 that subcontractor HelpStreet was called in to manage the residential facilities.

But the situation inside the home continued to deteriorate, the inquiry was told.

Then a payment dispute between Mr Miller's People Care and HelpStreet came to a head and the facility was placed into administration, leaving the fragile residents high and dry.

Mr Miller said he has since apologised and accepted responsibility for the breakdown of the agreement with HelpStreet.

He maintains the Earle Haven retirement village - separate from the high care facilities - continues to provide best services money could buy.

Mr Miller became upset as he was questioned about why he hadn't read a report emailed to him about the high-care facility when he went overseas in June, amid serious concerns about care at the home.

"I will not run aged care any more ... I am fed up," he told the hearing.

"I know some of the public servants are anti-Semitic because they know I am Jewish, I know that. They are trying to crucify my business."

More than a hundred medical staff, including paramedics, were called in to a "mass casualty action plan" when the 69 high-care residents were effectively left without a home in July.

The inquiry wrapped up on Friday with a report due in October.

Australian Associated Press