The French government will file a criminal complaint against the care group Orpea

A view shows the logo of French care home company Orpea at the entrance to a retirement home (EHPAD – Housing establishment for dependent elderly people) in Reze near Nantes, France, February 2, 2022. REUTERS/ Stephane Mahe

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PARIS, March 26 (Reuters) – The French government is considering filing a criminal complaint against home-care group Orpea (ORP.PA) over allegations of abuse of elderly patients, government minister Brigitte Bourguignon said in a statement on Saturday. communicated.

After a month and a half of investigation into the management and financial practices of the group, the government noted “significant dysfunctions in the management of the group, to the detriment of the care of its residents”, according to the Ministry of Health. Health.

The government said it would send its findings to state prosecutors and seek to recover public funds provided to the company after discovering possible irregularities in their use.

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The government is seeking to recover up to tens of millions of euros, corresponding to the period 2017 to 2020, Bourguignon said in an interview published in the French weekly Journal du Dimanche early Sunday.

Orpea replied later on Saturday that while the government report “highlights certain dysfunctions”, it “also allows the conclusion that there is no organized ‘system’ which would lead to widespread abuse”.

“We have taken full measure of the legitimate emotion aroused by these dysfunctions, many of which are due to the shortage of care and support professionals which affects us like the entire EHPAD sector”, declared Philippe Charrier, Chairman and CEO of Orpea. officer.

A book by freelance journalist Victor Castanet in January reported serious lapses in hygiene care at an Orpea retirement home in an affluent suburb of Paris. The French group has repeatedly denied systemic shortcomings and said in its statement on Saturday that it denies “several particularly serious allegations” in the book.

The government is inspecting the country’s 7,500 nursing homes over the next two years and plans to strengthen legal and accounting rules to better regulate groups managing care for the elderly, with a view to greater transparency on the use of public funds, he said.

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Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Alexander Smith, Barbara Lewis, Christina Fincher, William Maclean and Nick Zieminski

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