Care home pledge

Elwick Grange Care Home
Elwick Grange Care Home

COUNCIL bosses say they are continuing to support residents affected by the collapse of a care home chain.

Southern Cross, which ran homes and cared for more than 250 residents in Hartlepool, Billingham, and east Durham, collapsed after landlords owning all 752 of its care homes across the country said they wanted to leave the group.

In Hartlepool, Southern Cross ran the 60-bed Elwick Grange, in Elwick Road, which is currently at 50 per cent capacity.

Landlord Citrus Healthcare, which is part of the larger London-based Citrus Group, is now in discussions with other providers.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet committee met recently to discuss the situation.

Officers said the Darlington-based firm had written to residents and their families to reassure them of their “continuity of care” and to tell them that existing staff will transfer to the new care operator.

The council’s child and adult services department has also written to residents offering help and support.

Labour councillor Ged Hall, portfolio holder for adult and public health services, said: “Throughout the recent period of uncertainty about the future of Southern Cross, the council’s main focus has been and continues to be the provision of good quality care and the continuity of that care for the residents of Elwick Grange.”

Coun Hall added: “Officers will continue to liaise with Southern Cross and Citrus during the transition period of operations transferring from Southern Cross to the new care operator.

“In addition, continued monitoring will take place to ensure the residents in Elwick Grange are well cared for and supported during this difficult period.”

In March this year, Southern Cross held talks with its landlords in a bid to restructure its finances.

It did intend to continue trading, but transfer some of its care homes back to landlords.

But in July, the company announced that all landlords no longer wanted the company as a tenant.

Over the next few months homes will revert to their landlords who will either operate them or appoint a new provider.

The council report added: “It is understood that Citrus is in discussions with two potential operators and is keen to enter into a legal arrangement that includes guarantees about the quality and financial stability of the potential care operator.

“Citrus has agreed to keep the council informed of progress and stated that its timescale for completion is no later than October 2011.”