It took more a decade of repeated regulatory failures for the boss of a Gold Coast aged care facility to realise he wasn’t up to task of running the high needs facility.
Earle Haven boss Arthur Miller is giving evidence to a Queensland parliamentary inquiry into the July 11 closure that forced the state government to evacuate 69 high needs residents.
On Friday, Mr Miller was read reports of the high-care unit’s failures in 2007, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
When it was put to him that he was not up to task of running the high-care section at Earle Haven, he said: “that’s correct”.
Asked why it took so long to find a subcontractor to run it instead, Mr Miller said he had not been able to find the right provider.
“All that time I was planning to do that, but I didn’t because I couldn’t find a suitable provider,” Mr Miller said.
It wasn’t until April 2018 that HelpStreet came on board to manage the residential facilities.
The hearing was told of concerns from the federal regulator about drinks being placed out of reach of thirsty patients.
The regulator said that staff did not manage continence properly or have adequate behaviour management skills.
Mr Miller had to be kept on-topic by the counsel assisting the inquiry, Ruth O’Gorman, as he spoke of people in the home “loving him”.
He also mentioned disputes with public servants and “disgraceful” news reports on the closure of the high-care units within the larger Earle Haven retirement home.
He told the inquiry his wife, a highly qualified nurse, had been a director at the aged care facility from 2001.
But in 2007 she became very sick and stopped working. She died in 2012.
Mr Miller has remained the sole director since.
Mr Miller is giving evidence to the inquiry for the first time after twice postponing for health reasons.
Earle Haven went into administration in July after payment dispute came to a head between owner People Care and HelpStreet.
More than a hundred medical staff including paramedics were called in to help when the 69 high-care residents were effectively left without a home.
Witnesses have spoken of chaotic scenes as rooms were stripped.
They have also told of verbal confrontations during the exodus, one of which included an elderly man whose urinal bag was dragging along the floor.
Committee chair Aaron Harper says Mr Miller needs to give his side of the story for the residents and their families, staff and others who were affected by events at Earle Haven.
“We need to hear from Mr Miller the details of how and why this happened,” Mr Harper said.
Australian Associated Press