Thursday, 2 June 2011

Care Homes at Threat

Martin O'Rourke
SIPTU Organiser

Vulnerable elderly people and workers are those who will suffer most if the private care group Southern Cross is forced to close.

The group runs 25 care homes across the north, and a further 725 across England, Scotland and Wales.

The company's financial difficulty, it's very future has come into the spotlight this week again when it became evident that they could only pay part of their sizeable annual rent bill of £230million. Southern Cross have been allowed 4 months to come up with a long term solution to their financial woes but it is feared that up to 200 of their care homes are at threat of closure.

To maximise profits the company decided to sell the properties it owns, lease them back, and take the money it received from the sale as profit but are now not in a position to pay the rent on them.

What has been allowed to happen is a disgrace and highlights the absolute failings of privatisation, and has signalled one of the many huge pitfalls in David Cameron's notion of a 'Big Society.'

Care homes and care for our elderly should not be subject to fluctuation in the markets, and rise and fall in demand; they are not factories but an essential part of our community that should be focussed on providing world class care for our elderly and not in meeting financial targets and recording profits.

SIPTU hope that a solution can be found to ensure that all care homes are kept open, and all jobs saved, but we also hope it highlights the obvious failings in privatising something as important as care for our elderly, and hope that long term lessons can be learnt in our approach to how we look after the most vulnerable in our society.


1 comment:

  1. You touch on some good points in your post here. I think any questions are best discussed with a professional. This care home put some of my worries to bed.

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