The French elderly housing group Orpea fires manager after accusations of patient abuse

The CEO of the large France-based elderly care group Orpea was fired on Sunday, the company’s board said in a statement following allegations of patient abuse and neglect.

Orpea chief Yves Le Masne will leave the company with immediate effect, the statement said, without giving any reason but noting that the non-executive chairman would replace him.

The company has appointed the current non-managing director, Philippe Charrier, as the new managing director, it is stated in a statement.

“Mr. Charrier’s mission will be to ensure, under the control of the Board, that best practices are applied throughout the company and to shed full light on the allegations made,” the statement added.

The book reveals systematic abuse. Homes came under scrutiny after the publication of the book “Les Fossoyeurs” (The Diggers) by independent journalist Victor Castanet, which quotes employees and relatives who claim that residents are sometimes left for hours in dirty underwear or go days without care when managers try to maximize profit margins.

Food and care products in an Orpea home in a wealthy area near Paris were rationed even though residents paid monthly fees of several thousand euros, the book revealed.

The scandal has drawn widespread condemnation from officials and calls for inspections of the exclusive Orpea homes by the authorities.

Orpea has denied the allegations as “untrue, scandalous and harmful”. But under massive pressure from both the French government and shareholders, the company said last week that it would hire two companies to investigate allegations of ill-treatment. These were still being appointed, it said.

It also denied a claim by Castanet that he was offered € 15 million ($ 17 million) by a “broker” to close his investigation.

Orpea operates almost 1,200 homes worldwide, of which about 350 in France.

( Jowhar with AFP and REUTERS)

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