COUNCIL chiefs have vowed to do all they can to help residents being looked after by a threatened care home chain.
Bosses at all three local authorities in the Hartlepool Mail area say they have plans in place to help the scores of residents at the Southern Cross-run care homes in Hartlepool, Billingham and east Durham, should the firm collapse.
The Darlington-based group has already revealed plans to axe 3,000 jobs at its 750 UK homes, which look after 31,000 residents.
It comes after the company posted £311m losses in six months and revealed plans to surrender control of 132 of its homes.
Southern Cross runs the 60-bed Elwick Grange Care Home, in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, and Field View Care Home, in Hesleden Road, Blackhall, which has a capacity for 36 beds.
It also runs the 43-bed Jack Dormand Care Home, in Fourth Street, Horden, and Allington House and Hadrian Park, both in Billingham’s Marsh House Avenue, which have 107 residents between them.
The firm’s boss Stephen Fisher has said the home operator will continue to control a “critical mass” of its homes as it struggles to combat cuts in fees paid by local authorities and rising rent bills. Mr Fisher said residents’ needs were “paramount” and that people should not fear any “widespread programme” of home closures.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “The council continues to closely monitor the situation regarding Southern Cross and has robust plans in place should any private care home have to close.”
Rachel Shimmin, Durham County Council’s director for adults, wellbeing and health, said: “Our priority is ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of the residents in care and, therefore, as a matter of course we always seek to have contingency plans in case of any disruption to care.”
A spokesman for Stockton Borough Council said: “Councils, through the Association of Directors of Adult Services, and health providers across the region are continuing to work closely with Southern Cross to ensure continuity of their services.”
l DO you have a relation in a Southern Cross care home? Contact the Mail newsdesk on (01429) 239380.