Union reveals fears over the transfer of care home

NILALM110127C1 - Ceders and Larches care home Ilkeston
NILALM110127C1 - Ceders and Larches care home Ilkeston

FEARS have been raised over the transfer of an Ilkeston care home, after the collapse of the previous operator.

Cedars and Larches in Nottingham Road transferred from Southern Cross, which will go into administration at the end of this month, to Four Seasons Healthcare on Friday.

But GMB union officials have compared the move to ‘jumping from the frying pan into the fire’, as Four Seasons has faced its own serious financial issues.

Union leaders say the Care Quality Commission (CQC) must establish how Four Seasons can pay debts of £750m, due to be repaid next September, from assets of £350m.

Four Seasons will take over 56 other former Southern Cross homes across the country.

GMB union officials are worried about the future of their members at the home and has called on the CQC to investigate the transfer and look into whether Four Seasons has the financial stability to avoid being labelled the ‘son of Southern Cross’.

GMB national officer Justin Bowden said: “Four Seasons have to use income from residents and local councils, meant to care for the residents, to pay interests on these enormous debts.

“The only apparent option for Four Seasons to pay back the £750m is to use public money meant to care for the elderly. This is totally unacceptable.

“Councils must ensure taxpayers’ funds are not used to prop up Four Seasons or any other financially unstable care home operator.

But a spokesman for Four Seasons has called the claims ‘substantially wrong’, warning they will ‘cause unnecessary worry to elderly residents and relatives, and to employees’.

“Four Seasons is in good financial health,” he said. “Unlike Southern Cross, it is trading profitably. Our admissions are up compared to last year, in contrast to a decline across the sector.”

As we revealed last week, Ladywood and Victoria Park care homes are also set to have new operators by the end of the month.