A series of deaths at a Birmingham care home could not be explained because the doctors in charge failed to keep any medical records, the General Medical Council was told yesterday.

Husband and wife owners Dr Jamalapuram Hari Gopal and Dr Pratury Samrajya Lakshmi did not note down their visits to patients in some cases until after they had died.

The high number of deaths at the Maypole Nursing Home in Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, led to an investigation by the city's coroner.

But the GMC heard that that was probably because of the "non-existent" and inadequate record-keeping at the home.

Lynn Griffin, for the GMC, told the misconduct hearing: "There is no allegation the doctors were killing their patients with neglect. But their standard of care for people in the last stages of life was inadequate.

"There were a high number of deaths during 2002. Dr Gopal said that he had, for financial reasons, taken on elderly and mentally infirm patients and that led to a higher death rate.

"A report found some of the excess deaths at the nursing home could not be adequately explained. The investigator formed that opinion because there were no records. Some cases were referred to the coroner.

"But none of these concerns might have been raised if the records had been kept properly."

Dr Gopal claims he visited the home every day but was "not assiduous" in keeping records of his visits.

He also told the GMC in a letter he did not know how to use his practice computer which, he said, explained why he only recorded one patient's notes after her death.

But Miss Griffin said: "We say the level of supervision was below adequate.

"What is revealed is that even when they were notified of their patients' health, what they did was inexplicable and they failed to follow up those actions with appropriate behaviour. There are repeated failures across the board.

"The expert looking into the case concluded the standard of care provided to the residents of the Maypole Nursing Home fell seriously below that which should be expected of a competent GP."

The GMC has heard how the home closed on March 28, 2003, after inspections revealed it was filthy and had low staffing levels.

Dr Gopal and Dr Lakshmi voluntarily applied for closure shortly before the National Care Standards Commission was due to take enforcement action.

They are both accused of serious professional misconduct over their failure to run the home competently. They are said to have acted inappropriately, irresponsibly, inadequately and not in the best interests of their patients or the residents of the home.

It is also claimed they failed to arrange treatment for residents, even when they were seriously ill or close to death, and made unclear or unsatisfactory statements on death certificates for seven patients.

Both doctors deny serious professional misconduct.

The hearing continues.