Thursday 18 January 2018
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First 250 Southern Cross homes transferred

A third of Southern Cross care homes have been transferred to new operators, the company has announced.

Southern Cross said the transfer of 250 homes would be followed by further transfers in October and November.

Southern Cross was the UK's biggest care home operator, with 752 homes, but ran into difficulties when it was unable to pay its rent to landlords.

In July, the firm said it was to cease trading after all of its landlords said they wanted to leave the group.

The first "wave" of homes have been transferred to about 18 different operators.

Its largest landlord, NHP, which owns 249 of the homes, will be included in the second wave.

NHP is forming a new company, HC-One, with turnaround specialists Court Cavendish to run the homes itself.

HC-One is headed by the former boss of the Priory chain of clinics, Dr Chai Patel.

Winding up

Southern Cross said it had entered unconditional business purchase agreements covering 70% of its homes, with the remaining 30% still in progress.

It said all the homes would be transferred by the end of the year and the company would be wound up.

The firm has said that landlords are committed to providing continuity of care to its 31,000 residents, and that residents should notice no changes on a day-to-day basis.

It maintains that no homes will close and says the "vast majority" of its 43,000 staff will have their jobs protected, with care home workers transferring to the new operators.

The 200 Darlington-based back office workers will transfer to HC-One.

The company also announced the resignation of it chairman, Christopher Fisher, who stepped into the role in April to oversee the restructuring process.

"Now that the transfer of homes has commenced, I consider my role complete," Mr Fisher said.