Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Southern Cross homes: Haslingden and Clayton

Southern Cross, one of the UK’s largest care home providers which currently employs 44,000 staff across 750 homes, this week announced that it have to cut 3000 jobs across its care homes as it announced it was facing financial difficulties. The company has said that it plans to cut its workforce from 44,000 to 41,000 by October in order to try and avert closure.

There are two Southern  Cross residential homes for the elderly in the constituency at Clayton-le Moors and also in Haslingden.

Southern Cross claimed that the cuts would not result in a lower quality of service. However, they are likely to add to the uncertainty currently being suffered by its 31,000 residents and their families.

Last week the Government announced that it would ensure that "effective protection" was in place to protect residents. The Government said that it was closely monitoring efforts to resolve the company's financial problems and also said that the Department of Health had been in contact with Southern Cross for some time. If this is the case then I have to ask myself how we have reached the situation that the care home provider has found itself in this week?

Despite Government assurances that there would be effective protection in place we have now learned that 3000 jobs are set to go across all of their care homes. This is obviously a massive blow for those who will now be finding themselves without employment. But also, there is now concern over the future of the care home and the future of those who reside there.

Labour’s shadow health minister Emily Thornberry said the situation was very serious. She said: "We are talking about the most vulnerable, and the government has a responsibility to ensure that there is a plan B if Southern Cross can't look after itself.”

This week the Labour Leader Ed Miliband made a ‘genuine and open’ offer to the Prime Minister and Nick Clegg to engage in cross party talks after the Dilnot Commission into the funding of social care publishes its findings in July.

EM also called for private care providers to be more carefully regulated, with a duty on the regulator to look at their financial security as well as the quality of care they provide.

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said "Thousands of very vulnerable people and their families will be worried sick by what's being reported about Southern Cross.

"Ministers must get a plan B in place if the company can't sort out its problems. People need to know they won't be left high and dry by the decisions of city hedge fund managers."