Cash-strapped Southern Cross care firm to get rid of 132 homes

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TROUBLED private care provider Southern Cross is to turn 132 of its homes over to the landlords which own the buildings.

Southern Cross runs 752 homes across the UK, with three of those in the area – Cams Ridge in Fareham, Hamilton House in Drayton and Woodcot Lodge in Gosport.

It is expected many of the properties will continue to be run as care homes by other operators or the landlords themselves.

Last week it revealed plans to cut 3,000 jobs, including more than 300 nurses, while 1,275 care staff, 700 catering posts, 440 domestic jobs and 238 maintenance roles could also go.

And it was also revealed that concerns about management at its care homes have been raised by the social care regulator.

Of 49 homes reviewed by the Care Quality Commission since October, it found issues with staffing levels at 19, according to a report.

Southern Cross recently warned it was in a critical financial condition as it unveiled a £311m loss in the six months to March 31.

It plans to reduce its annual rent bill from £202.3m to £137.5m and recently announced it would cut the rent it pays to landlords by 30 per cent as it tries to give itself some breathing space.

Southern Cross confirmed 47 of the homes will be returned to landlords in the next four to six months, with the remaining 85 returned over the next two to five years.

A spokesman for the firm said: ‘Southern Cross’s paramount concern is minimising disruption for its residents.’

Unison, the public sector union, said it was an ‘incredibly distressing time’ for Southern Cross’ 31,000 residents.