Rescue deal for two care homes

The Tudor Manor nursing home on Clifton Drive South Shore
The Tudor Manor nursing home on Clifton Drive South Shore

THE future of two care homes looks to be secure after takeover deals were announced.

Tudor Manor on Clifton Drive, South Shore, and Amber Court on Warley Road, North Shore, are both owned by Southern Cross which is set to be wound up.

Their future had been in serious doubt and concerns had grown in recent weeks about what would happen to residents and workers if new owners could not be found.

But Amber Court will now be taken over by care home operator Countrywide by September 30, while Tudor Manor is to be owned by Court Cavendish and NHP from October 31.

However, it is still uncertain if jobs at the two homes are safe.

Coun Kath Rowson, a member of Blackpool old people’s welfare committee at Blackpool Council, told The Gazette: “It has been a very worrying time for the families and the residents.

“It has been so long and drawn out that I’m pleased an agreement has been reached for the sake of the residents. I hope this brings an end to the worry.

“The council will be monitoring this very closely to make sure the takeover goes smoothly and the homes are run in the correct way.”

Southern Cross, whose staff are represented by the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (GMB), collapsed after its previous private equity owners sold its freeholds, handing it a £200m-a-year rent bill it could not afford.

Justin Bowden, GMB officer, said: “Local councils and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have a duty to assess the fitness of these operators to run these care homes properly. Operators must have the financial strength to provide decent standards of care to residents without a repeat of the financial difficulties Southern Cross encountered.

“Above all, councils who pay the majority of the bills and the operators must work to ensure full transparency in all aspects of the business plans.”

Jeremy Jensen, NHP director, said: “We understand uncertainty has made it a challenging time for residents, relatives and staff, and we look forward to putting in place a new era of stability, good governance and the highest standards of care.

“The continuity of care for residents remains our number one priority and we are working hard to ensure a seamless transition. That is our current focus.”

Countrywide was unavailable for comment.