Operation Jasmine: Independent review announced by Carwyn Jones

Dr Prana Das was left brain-damaged after a violent burglary at his home

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An independent review is to be held to learn lessons from a case of alleged abuse at care homes in south Wales, First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced.

It comes after the UK's biggest inquiry into alleged neglect in six homes - Operation Jasmine - which cost £11.6m.

Two were owned by Dr Prana Das, who once owned 25 homes in south Wales.

But the case collapsed after he suffered a brain injury and could not stand trial.

The families were left "frustrated" in their search for justice.

Mr Jones, making his announcement, said he did not want the events of a decade ago to ever be repeated.

"I believe that we need a full and independent review of these events to understand whether there is anything else the social care sector and policy makers need to learn, anything else we need to put in place," he told assembly members.

"I expect the review to speak with the families of those involved as well as the local authorities involved, the police, the professionals and the regulators."

Operation Jasmine was a major Home Office funded inquiry set up in 2005 and spanned seven years, involved 75 police staff and 4,126 statements were taken.

It identified 100 potential victims.

It was established in October 2005 after Gladys Thomas, 84, a patient at Bryngwyn Mountleigh nursing home in Newbridge, was admitted to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital after being given incorrect doses of medication. She later died.

A nurse at the home admitted neglect on the basis of not administering the correct medication.

Eight carers and nurses were charged with wilful neglect relating to injuries on her body but the prosecution dropped the case three weeks into the trial in 2008.

Start Quote

Their pain and guilt over what happened to their loved ones deserved a response, and I cannot welcome this response enough”

End Quote Nick Smith MP Blaenau Gwent, Labour

Dr Das, 66, faced charges relating to neglect and fraud at two care homes - Brithdir Care Home in New Tredegar, near Bargoed, and The Beeches in Blaenavon.

The review will be led by Dr Margaret Flynn, who has been involved in previous serious case reviews involving the elderly and is chair of Lancashire's Safeguarding Adults Board.

The Older People's Commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochira said: "The families of the victims of the alleged abuse and neglect investigated by Operation Jasmine, who I have met with many times, have told me that they want answers about what happened to their relatives and how abuse and neglect on the scale alleged could have taken place.

"But most of all, they have told me they want to make sure that it couldn't happen again to anyone else."

Shadow social services minister William Graham said he welcomed the announcement "wholeheartedly".

He said: "The review must be comprehensive and wide-ranging and I am pleased to hear the first minister commit himself to this.

"Everything must be done to ensure events of this kind are never allowed to happen again

Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith said families had wanted answers and justice.

"Without the bold decision by the first minister today, these families would have been let down by the system," he said.

"Their pain and guilt over what happened to their loved ones deserved a response, and I cannot welcome this response enough."

Lib Dem spokesman for older people Aled Roberts AM added: "Just hoping that similar failings don't happen again is simply not enough.

"We need to be told how such a catalogue of failings were allowed to happen and learn from previous failings in the system, so that measures can be put in place to prevent these tragedies happening again."

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