New company to run Southern Cross care home in Stamford

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A care home in Stamford which was run by Southern Cross, the stricken health-care firm, is to be run by a new company.

NHP, which owns the Priory Court complex, in Priory Road, has announced plans to set up a new operating company in October.

The property investment firm owns 249 of the care homes run by Southern Cross, which recorded a £311m loss and suspended dealing in its shares last week.

Now NHP is looking to work with specialists Court Cavendish in starting up the new company, which will be the largest care home operator in the UK.

The 50 or so residents, their families and 60 staff at Priory Court were told the news this week.

It means any suggestion that the home might have to close has been completely ruled out and continuity of care will be maintained.

A statement on the NHP website said it hoped the new company would put its 249 homes on a “firm financial footing”.

NHP also says that the new company will continue to rely on existing Southern Cross staff. Plans to axe 3,000 jobs across the country have been withdrawn by Southern Cross.

NHP has been allowed to retain £14m of immediately due loan interest repayments by Capita, which represents its lenders, to start up the new company. According to the Financial Times NHP had £1.1bn in debts last year.

NHP director Paul Thompson said: “We have kept the Government fully informed of this latest development, and are looking forward in due course to the unveiling of a new operating company that will move forward with high quality care at the heart of everything it does.

“Working closely with the Southern Cross management team and other landlords remains crucial for the good of those who depend on the care provided out of our homes.

“NHP has chosen one of the most experienced health and social care operation teams in the UK, Court Cavendish, to lead with us the new operating company that will, in time, take over its homes.

“Continuity of care in all the homes owned by NHP remains the number one priority.”

The NHP announcement has been welcomed by Southern Cross chief executive Jamie Buchan.

He said: “The announcement from NHP is very positive indeed and should be welcomed by staff, residents and relatives as being in the interests of preserving resident care.”