A husband-and-wife GP team ran a private nursing home in Birmingham which had to close after inspectors found "filthy" conditions, patients being "restrained" in "bucket chairs" and others wandering the rooms half dressed, the General Medical Council heard yesterday.
Dr Jamalapuram Hari Gopal and his wife Dr Pratury Samrajya Lakshmi are accused of serious professional misconduct over a "catalogue of inadequacy" at the former Maypole Nursing Home for elderly, mentally infirm patients, in Alcester Road South, Kings Heath.
It was closed in March 2003 after an unannounced inspection, which prompted the then National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) to raise "serious concerns" about the care it offered.
Inspectors were concerned by figures showing 28 residents had died between 2002 and 2003 with up to 16 believed to have raised particular concerns.
Among a string of allegations, the doctors are accused of failing to ensure that the privacy and dignity of residents was respected, to make arrangements to prevent them being harmed or suffering abuse and ensuring they were not subjected to physical restraint other than that necessary to secure their or other residents welfare.
They are also charged with failing to provide or arrange provision of "an appropriate level of medical input" even for patients close to death or very ill.
Counsel for the GMC Lynn Griffin told the GMC's Fitness to Practice Panel in Central London it was not alleged there had been "positive abuse" of residents at the home by staff.
"What there was was a catalogue of inadequacy apparently caused by a lack of time, interest and perhaps money," she said.
That resulted in allegations, including those of sexual assault, not being investigated or documented properly, she added.
One female resident appeared to have a cigarette burn on her chest between her breasts even though she was not a smoker, but there had been no investigation, the hearing was told.
Dr Gopal and Dr Lakshmi worked as GPs at the nearby Philip Clarke Medical Centre and residents at the home were transferred on to the list of Dr Gopal, which according to the GMC was "inadvisable" unless they had been asked to or had no alternative.
The pair, who deny serious professional misconduct, are accused of " inappropriate, irresponsible and inadequate" behaviour which was not in the best interests of their patients and residents at the home.
Detailing a catalogue of alleged failings, Ms Griffin told the panel a series of inspections in February 2003 had found "extremely poor" conditions, "awful" record-keeping, "highly inadequate" staffing levels and "sporadic and inadequate" training.
Ms Griffin said "bucket chairs" were used in the home.
"They were used to prevent the residents from mobilising, a form, in my submission, of restraint, preventing them from changing their position," she said.
Staff talked amongst themselves and ignored residents, said Ms Griffiths.
Both doctors are also accused of making statements on death certificates that were " unclear or unsatisfactory".
Dr Hari Gopal has said that when he and his wife decided to close the home he knew the NCSC would do so if it was not done voluntarily by them.
The hearing continues.