Troubled Care Home Group Send Ripples of Worry Through the Care Sector

Southern Cross, care home provider to 31,000 residents and much in the media of late, has added to its woes by announcing plans to cut 3,000 jobs out of its 44,000 workforce by October this year.
Taking a seemingly contradictory position, the company declared that home managers, deputy managers, relief managers, activity co-ordinators and administrators would be largely unaffected by the job losses whilst claiming that the quality of care provided would not suffer.

Unions greeted the latest announcement with a call for the government to intervene financially.
Southern Cross made the news in May when it reported its "critical financial condition" with half-year losses of £311m. Seeking to avoid bankruptcy, the company was forced to defer 30% of the rent due on its 750 homes.

Southern Cross’ chief executive, Jamie Buchan, stated, "We are engaging with colleagues to put in place the best possible staffing model for our future needs, and one which fully embraces the best practice available to us."

The claim that no consequent drop of quality would follow what the company described as ‘part of an ongoing programme of change’ was disputed by unions. "The care sector is hugely labour intensive,” declared Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, “and there is no doubt that job losses on this scale will mean elderly people in Southern Cross homes get a lower standard of care and some homes may be at risk of closure."

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