Cash crisis hits White Rose home

White Rose Lodge Care Centre'North Marine Drive'PA1123-2
White Rose Lodge Care Centre'North Marine Drive'PA1123-2

RESIDENTS at a Bridlington residential care home are among thousands of elderly people across the country who could face losing their places.

The Southern Cross Healthcare Group, owners of the White Rose Lodge care home in Limekiln Lane, is facing a financial crisis that has hit the headlines in the national press.

The Government has already become involved, with Downing Street giving a guarantee that the 31,000 elderly residents of Southern Cross would ‘not lose out.’

However, the care home group warned it was in a “critical financial condition” having made losses of £311 million in the space of six months.

The UKs largest care home operator with almost 750 care homes serving 31,000 residents, White Rose Lodge can cater for up to 38 residents in a mix of 28 single rooms, and five shared rooms, all with en suite facilities.

It also offers day care, respite care and holiday care and its accommodation is suitable for people with physical disabilities.

When approached by the Free Press, management said they were unable to comment on the situation or give any other information about the Lodge.

Southern Cross’s chairman Christopher Fisher has said on national TV that even if the company collapsed – which he was not anticipating – residents would not suffer.

He told Channel 4 News: “If there was a corporate failure, it wouldn’t impact on the care delivery at home level, but we are determined that there isn’t going to be a corporate failure.”

He said it was possible to engineer a solution to their present situation so they emerged from the current period in a stable and sustainable form.

Asked about relatives’ concerns over the impact on elderly residents if they are forced to move home, Mr Fisher said: “We are very sensitive to the vulnerability of the people in our care and that is our primary focus. We have no agenda about moving people.”

Southern Cross has been hit by the increasingly high rents it has to pay for its properties at a time of recession and when local authority care contributions are being squeezed.

The business, which owns almost 750 care homes and employs thousands of staff, has announced it will be underpaying its £230 million annual rental bill by a third for the next four months.

This is effectively a loan from its landlords, and is in the process of looking at a restructuring process.

Mr Fisher said: “We are in dialogue with the Department of Health, our lenders and landlords and they continue to support the process.

“Those landlords that do not want to take part in the longer term restructuring will be able to review other options but it is in everyone’s interests if this is as part of a larger, managed and orderly process.

“The objective will be to emerge with a stable and sustainable business model for the continuing care of our residents. Our primary concern is the continuity of care to all our 31,000 residents.”