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Elite nursing home probed

ONE of the country's most prestigious nursing homes, Sydney's Lulworth House, is under investigation over serious allegations of neglect.

Elite residents of the nursing home include former prime minister Gough Whitlam, former NSW premier Neville Wran, former University of Sydney chancellor Dame Leonie Kramer and entertainer Jeanne Little.

The federal Department of Health and Ageing has confirmed that the Aged Care Complaints Scheme is investigating concerns raised by three parties whose relatives died between June and August. A separate complaint has also been made to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.

The complaints relate to the deaths of three elderly residents, whose relatives say they chose the Elizabeth Bay facility because of its excellent reputation, with its marketing material claiming high levels of comfort and luxury.

It is one of the most expensive aged care facilities in the country, with residents paying up to $220 a day.

All three complainants, who do not wish to be identified, have also raised questions about staff numbers at Lulworth, noting that in the afternoons there are very few assistants in nursing available to help feed and toilet approximately 154 residents. They have also taken issue with lack of staff supervision by registered nurses on duty.

Mark Compton, the chief executive officer of St Luke's Care which owns the home, denied that residents were malnourished and said staff to resident ratios fulfilled care needs.