Reassurance over care homes’ future

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A COMPANY which runs 24 care homes across South Yorkshire has announced it is breaking up following months of uncertainty.

Southern Cross - which has 14 homes in Sheffield, six in Rotherham and three in Doncaster - said talks are now under way for the centres to be taken over by their landlords.

Discussions are ongoing, but Sheffield Council has reassured residents and relatives no homes in the city - which provide 660 beds - are under threat.

Sheffield Council executive director of communities Richard Webb said: “We would like to stress that care will still be delivered to all people whose care is being delivered by Southern Cross, despite the announcement by the company.

“This is something we have been preparing for, for a while, so already a number of contingency arrangements have been put in place for the worst case scenario. The council, in partnership with the local NHS, is working with care home managers across the city affected by the announcement by Southern Cross.

“At this stage we have no immediate concerns for the closure of any home in Sheffield. However, if at any time a home is under threat of closure we will work closely with the management and owners to ensure that the welfare of the residents is the main priority.

“We will work with individual residents to make sure their views and wishes are taken into account. On the rare occasions that a move to another home becomes necessary, it will be done in such a way as to minimise any disruption to the resident and their family and friends.”

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, the shadow health secretary, said: “Residents and their families will want reassurances from the Government on the action they are taking to guarantee nobody ends up on the street or is left with inadequate care provision.

“I am seeking reassurances on behalf of residents, their families and staff about the future and, where landlords are taking over the running of these homes, that they are fit to do so.”

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: “This is a highly complex situation but we would like to reassure residents, staff and relatives we will be working closely with the Southern Cross restructuring committee, which is currently looking to engage with landlords and providers.

“As an authority we are willing to work with all parties to support the residents of the homes but it will be some time before we have the full picture.

“Obviously, the peace of mind, physical and emotional welfare, and the interests of residents and their carers will be at the forefront of every decision we make.”

Joan Beck, director of adults and communities at Doncaster Council, added: “The peace of mind, physical and emotional welfare of our residents is our priority and we will be working with landlords and providers to determine the future of each of the five Southern Cross homes within Doncaster.”

Sheffield residents and their relatives who have concerns about a particular home are being advised to get in touch with their individual care home managers or visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/caresupport/resnursing/places/southern-cross for further details.

AFFECTED HOMES:

SHEFFIELD: Walkley Lodge, Walkley; Moorend Place, Walkley; Heeley Bank, Heeley Bank Rd; Alexander Court, Crookes; Holmwood, Norton Lees; Ascot Lodge, Intake; Blenheim Court, Lane Top; Dalewood View, Woodseats; Haythorne Place, Shirefield; Chatsworth Grange, Intake; Hartwell, Ecclesfield; Silver Lodge, Chapletown; Chapel Lodge, Chapletown; Swallownest, Swallownest; The Lodge, Killamarsh; Stocksbridge, Stocksbridge; Ladyfield House, Kiveton Park

ROTHERHAM: The Abbeys, Rawmarsh; Alexandra, Thrybergh; Silverwood, Sunnyside; Swallow Wood, Mexborough

DONCASTER: Warneford House, Adwick le Street; Amethyst House, Old Rossington; The Beeches, Armthorpe