THE Health Minister has vowed that no elderly people will be made homeless after talks between troubled care home operator Southern Cross and its landlords.
The firm, which runs three homes in Ilkeston, announced after talks last Thursday that an agreement had been reached to find a solution to its financial woes.
Answering an urgent question about the situation in the House of Commons, MP Paul Burstow said: “I should like to reassure everyone that no one will find themselves homeless or without care.
“The Government will not stand by and let that happen. Department of Health officials have been in frequent contact with Southern Cross’s senior management over the past three months, and that will continue.
“We are engaged with the company, the landlords and the lenders, and we are monitoring the situation closely.”
But he said: “This is a commercial sector problem and we look to the commercial sector to solve it.”
In a joint statement between the firm – the UK’s largest care home operator with 31,000 residents – and its landlords said that ‘every resident will continue to be well looked after’.
But as we revealed last week, 3,000 of the company’s jobs look set to be axed and between 250 and 400 of its 752 homes could be run by a different operator at the end of the four-month restructuring process.
The process will be overseen by a committee made up of some of the 80 landlords and representatives from Southern Cross, which runs Cedars and Larches, Ladywood and Victoria Park care homes in and around Ilkeston.
Chief executive of Southern Cross Jamie Buchan said: “All of the staff at Southern Cross have an important job to do in continuing to deliver excellent standards of care through the restructuring which will now be undertaken.
“I am very pleased to have the support of our landlords, lenders and Government as we carry out this important task.”
Meanwhile the GMB union, which represents care home staff has written to 11 of the landlords, which own about 500 Southern Cross homes between them, setting out legal rights of staff if landlords seize control of the homes.