Threatened Southern Cross homes to stay open

A group of care homes earmarked for possible closure by stricken Southern Cross Healthcare have been saved after the landlord said it would take them over and keep them open.

Cash-strapped Southern Cross is locked in negotiations with landlords of all of its 752 care homes over a restructuring of its properties that could see many revert back to their original owners or close.

Landlord and care home provider Four Seasons said it had visited all 45 of its leased homes and does not intend to close any of them after taking them on, even though Southern Cross had labelled a "significant" number as commercially unviable.

The 45 care homes contain a total of 1,921 beds, with average occupancy of around 80% to 81%.

The staff and managers would transfer over with the homes, Four Seasons said, adding that it would work with Southern Cross to ensure a smooth transition with no disruption to residents.

Southern Cross, the UK's largest residential care home provider, has been brought to the brink of collapse by a combination of a rising rent bill and declining fees from local authorities as occupancy rates have declined.

The company has already negotiated a 30% rent cut from its landlords for four months to buy some breathing space while negotiations over a longer-term agreement continue.

That is expected to result in a number of landlords walking away from the group with Southern Cross likely to re-emerge as a much smaller company with about 400 homes, according to analysts.

Four Seasons, which owns and operates over 400 care centres and nursing homes in its own right, said it leased the 45 homes to Southern Cross under an historic arrangement.

It was widely expected to take them back and operate them itself. Unlike Southern Cross, it owns 60% of the homes it operates.

Another smaller landlord, Bondcare, which leases 40 homes to Southern Cross, has also said it will take them back and run them, though NHP and London & Regional, the two largest landlords, have not yet revealed their plans.

Concern about the impact of Southern Cross's financial problems on its 31,000 residents has made the issue of care for the elderly and infirm a key political topic.

The Government will today publish the findings of an investigation into care home funding by economist Andrew Dilnot.

It is expected to recommend a cap of £35,000 on individual liability for care costs and suggest local authorities make low-cost loans to people needing care, which could be set against any property they own.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore