The GP accused of misconduct over the running of a private nursing home said yesterday he had no idea what credentials his manager held.

Dr Jamalapuram Hari Gopal told the General Medical Council that his female manager at the Maypole Nursing Home in Birmingham had applied for a training course but said he was unaware of the exact qualification.

He said that she had run the home for six months with no relevant qualifications and without a deputy to help her.

Dr Gopal and his wife, Dr Pratury Samrajya Lakshmi, are accused of serious professional misconduct over their management of the former home for elderly, mentally infirm patients in Alcester Road South.

It was closed in March 2003 after an unannounced inspection, which prompted the then National Care Standards Commission to raise "serious concerns" about the care offered, the GMC was told.

The doctors, who worked as GPs at the nearby Philip Clarke Medical Centre, deny serious professional misconduct and accusations of "inappropriate, irresponsible and inadequate" behaviour that was not in the interests of their patients at the home.

Giving evidence, Dr Gopal said his manager had agreed when she started that she would join a management course but was waiting for one to commence.

Asked by Lynn Griffin, for the GMC's fitness to practise panel, what the qualification was, he said he did not know but added: "I know it was a management course."

The doctor insisted that he was proactive in looking for problems within the home but added that he also relied heavily on his staff.

"(The) managers would tell me. The responsibility was also with professional managers."

Asked how policies in the home were reviewed over time, Dr Gopal said: "The manager did it. The manager and the deputy would discuss it with staff."

Last week Birmingham coroner Aidan Cotter, who investigated the 13 deaths at the home during 2002, said he would not hold inquests.

Mr Cotter said he had found no evidence which would justify inquests, but added that the home had not been run as well as it could have been.

West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have also said there was no evidence of crimes being committed at the home.

The unannounced inspection at the home in 2003 followed concerns over the fact that 28 residents died there between 2002 and 2003.

Dr Gopal told the hearing, sitting in central London, that residents often arrived at the home in the advanced stages of illness including dementia and sometimes did not have long to live.

The GMC heard that carers were paid £9.50 per hour at the home and £12 per hour at night and on weekends.

About 60 to 65 per cent of the home's income went on wages and the rest was spent on items such as insurance, laundry and food expenses.

Dr Gopal said: "It was not profitable, we were making losses. I was supplementing it with my personal income but it was improving.

"At the beginning of 2002, we were confident that we could start making profit and put that money back into the home."

The doctor told the GMC he had been putting in his own money for "almost 12 months" before the home closed.

It was sold for £480,000 but was worth much more and he had to sell his home to make up the difference, Dr Gopal told the hearing.

He described how a series of managers had proved disappointing, including one who had to be sacked because of drinking and another who simply could not cope.

But he denied that he relied on managers "completely".

He insisted that medications were kept under lock and key and denied that some residents were left for long periods of time in unsuitable chairs.

He also refuted that the food served to the residents at the home was of a poor standard.

The hearing continues.