'Disgusting': Scene inside abandoned nursing home
PHOTOS have emerged from inside the Gold Coast's Earle Haven nursing home showing documents strewn all over the floor, cupboards stripped bare, medicines packed up in boxes and distressed residents being comforted.
It comes after furious Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said he would ask police to investigate the stripping of the home where 70 elderly, sick and frail residents were abandoned.
Dozens of Queensland Ambulance and Health staff were called in last night for a natural disaster-style evacuation after the facility abruptly shut down amid a commercial dispute between the owner and operator.
"As I understand it, storeroom after storeroom was cleared of anything that could be considered valuable," Mr Miles said.
"Our health staff had to reconstruct health histories and medication requirements for the residents in order to stabilise them and provide them with their health care needs. It's just not good enough.
"Whatever their internal disputes (between the nursing home owner and contract operator), there is no excuse for just walking out on them. There is no excuse for taking their patient records, no excuse for taking their pharmaceuticals, for taking the mop buckets and gloves that staff would use to help them toilet and shower … the behaviour here, whoever is responsible, is just disgusting."
Mr Miles said he believed electronic patient records were missing but some paper records had been retrieved.
"No doubt police will be involved in assessing any offences that occurred," he said.
Mr Miles said he had written to federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck demanding an investigation.
Mr Miles this morning said a rescue operation to retrieve 70 aged care residents was completed just after 1am.
"This was effectively an emergency response, the kind you would see in a flood or a cyclone. The paramedics and health staff worked swiftly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these residents," Mr Miles said.
State Labor MP Meaghan Scanlon, whose electorate takes in Nerang, says the situation is a disgrace.
"When these aged-care providers fail to deliver what they were supposed to deliver the burden gets shifted onto Queensland Health, and that is a problem in itself," she has told the ABC.
"This sector really needs to be cleaned up."
People Care, which owns the retirement village, has blamed the shutdown on a medical contracting company that took over the site's aged-care wing last year.
People Care owner Arthur Miller said a decision was made to terminate a contract held by HelpStreet following a staffing dispute.
He says HelpStreetwas given until August 9 to vacate the wing but they decided to leave earlier.
HelpStreet has alleged it didn't get written confirmation it would be paid for the final month of work, triggering Thursday's closure.
Mr Miller has denied that, saying People Care agreed to pay staff wages for the final month.
"Earle Haven Retirement has no debt, we have all the money for employees but there are a lot of things we have to take care of," Mr Miller told The Gold Coast Bulletin.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union secretary Beth Mohle has called the closure gobsmacking.
She said it was a reflection of the "woefully inadequate" regulation in the aged-care system.
Queensland Health has urged the federal government to step in and find permanent new homes for the elderly residents.