SCC has now decided to sell its care homes ‘as going concerns’ – or so we heard last month.
Very much better than the original suggestion of choice which had an indefinable suggestion of ‘prime building site in desirable location’ about it. Indeed – now that management buy-outs from existing staff are no longer excluded – it could result in little noticeable chance for the people of Suffolk, and particularly the residents. This is to be welcomed.
But where does all SCC’s past rhetoric about the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the private sector sit with the downfall of Southern Cross, the UK’s largest private care provider?
Southern Cross is Britain’s biggest care homes operator, with 750 homes – eight of which are in Suffolk. It is currently teetering on the brink of financial collapse as it struggles to pay the rent for what the portfolio-holder for Adult Care Services would describe as its ‘cost-effective care homes’. But as Southern Cross strikes a deal with its landlords in a last-ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy, we haven’t heard too much from its creditors about its efficiency and cost-effectiveness .
Indeed, Age UK has been quoted as saying
“In future, we would like to see all home care providers having to demonstrate to regulators a solid business model. Without this they should not be able to run care homes. The sector would benefit from greater transparency.”
So it seems that all that past New Strategic Direction bombast from Suffolk’s Tory Cabinet about how the private sector was so much more efficient in the care of the elderly was based on a system with no requirement for transparency or a solid business model.
Why doesn’t that surprise me?