Troubled care home bosses call for calm

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CARE home bosses facing a financial crisis have denied dozens of pensioners could be made homeless as a result.

The troubled Southern Cross Healthcare organisation which runs five homes in Falkirk has called in business experts KPMG to look at the books in a bid to restructure the operation and deal with its mounting debts.

The move has sparked fears the group could be about to fold.

The majority of the properties operated by Southern Cross are rented from an investment group and it is understood Southern Cross is struggling to pay the bills.

The GMB union has 10,000 members working for the company and is worried they could soon be out of a job as homes close down.

The news will concern families with relatives being looked after in Southern Cross homes in Westquarter, Larbert, Reddingmuirhead, Camelon and Arnothill in Falkirk.

On Wednesday Southern Cross chief executive Jamie Buchanan insisted the group would find a way forward.

He said “unsustainable” rents and local authority cuts has put the business under pressure, but Southern Cross will reach an agreement with its landlords and continue operating.

He added: “The business is under twin pressures from the reduction in local authority spending on frontline services and rises in rental costs which have become unsustainable. However care to the 31,000 residents in our homes remains uninterrupted and the business will continue to operate because it is in the best interest of the landlords to allow it to do so.

“Landlords and Southern Cross are flipsides of the same coin. They own the nursing homes and we operate nursing homes, so our fortunes are inextricably linked. I believe there will be an equitable solution.”